I found myself in for a number of surprises with this CD. Not only is Hoyt Binder an unorthodox and fluid guitarist and writer in the fusion genre, not only had he managed to snag Toss Panos on drums, a cat who's played with everyone under the sun, but he also grabbed Trevor Lloyd, a SoCal Beach Cities progrock violinist and former member of the way underappreciated and largely unknown Underwater Traffic, and finally bassist Paulo Gustavo. The foursome sinks deeply into progfusion on Prayrie Go Round, Binder the main voice but embedded firmly in rich dynamics and atmospherics from compeers.
Binder's absorbed a wide array of influences into his idiosyncratic wont. One can detect Shangrenade era Harvey Mandel, all periods Alan Holdsworth, early Robert Fripp, John Goodsall (who is always John Goodsall), and frankly even Jim Hall, though I suppose it's heresy to say so in prog confines—oh, waitaminnit, I'm not in prog magazines any more; cool!—but he just as often lays back into mello-mode as tears it up, preferring smoothly unfolding tableaus, playgrounds in which he and Lloyd can gambol, sometimes like gazelles leaping about, other times like snakes sidling through meadow grass and verdant jungles, occasionally even ominous—and, hell, what are prog and fusion without some form of subterranean threat or infernal glare, hm?
Gustavo is laid way back in the mix, sinuously coloring the backdrop as Panos lays out ceaseless patterns and variations, structuring the confines of each milieu, boxing up Gustavo's colors and murmurs, keeping them circulating wall to post. Binder in Numb Goodbye employs guitar-triggered electronics for the intro and elsewhere, and I have to urge him to consider doing even more so next time out, because axehandlers rarely leash such outboards well, and he's got it texturally nailed. I hate it when, say, Holdsworth does the same, chopping way too much out of his voicings, but Binder enhances his own palette thuswise, one of the very few legitimating the practice.
In all, I'd say Prayrie Go Round is best suited for those moody days when you don't want to sink into depression but also can't bear the thought of Bangles-y, glib, gleeful, dumb-ass cheerleader joy and similar mentally stunted perambulations. It's moody music for moody people with more brain cells than are welcomed in the world of Pink Boy Norms, so be careful who you play it around. You know what happened to Victor von Frankenstein. I have it on good authority the guy listened to Gong, Soft Machine, Il Volo, and other wickedly cool groups when working late in the lab. Too bad the townies gave him that pitchfork party, as he'd certainly have warmed to Hoyt Binder and confreres.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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