On the Edge of Discovery Reviews
DPRP.net - Album Reviews - Issue 2023-058
Bob is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter from Pittsburgh, PA. On his most recent EP there's quite a lot of synthesizers and heavy drums, forming the ground structure on which the songs are built. In the title-song he sums up the concept of the album: The search for truth, when truth is not to be found in the news or digital media. When I listen to the album, a dystopian future scenario like Bladerunner comes to mind.
In our day and age, we're moving through a major change. The vibrational density seems heavier and darker than ever, and time itself spirals at a speed where gravity and velocity are interlocking. The edge in the title refers to uncovering the wave spinning under that spiraling density. And perhaps - instead of falling off the edge and into darkness - we will be carried by that underlying flowing motion through a change that will dispel darkness. To start anew.
I like the sincerity in the way he sings. Jon Anderson is obviously an influence as well as Peter Gabriel. Sound-wise, this album is not unlike PG's fourth album. It has a similar claustrophobic unrest in the mix of synths and drums. In this way, the songs do feel somewhat crowded; like standing in an elevator with far too many people.
But there are songs that are less crammed, thus making it easier to breathe or listen. Earth Whispers is a nice song that makes me think of Crowded House somehow. Technofly is great with a flute-like melody and cool, elegant guitar parts. The Keeper is an interesting song with acoustic textures, that begins with deep breathy vocals. The mandolin is amazing. The vocals on the verses have more than a hint of Rush.
No Bees Buzz is an instrumental fusion kind of song with what sounds like Al Di Meola playing lead-guitar with Jan Hammer. But I assume it's all Bob Neft. Wow! Adrenaline is Neft at his most Gabriel-esque asking "What can I do?" A female voice completes and embellishes the question, singing "to make it better, to make it right". I love these voices. The writer and activist Charles Eisenstein use the phrase "what is mine to do?" when discussion this question. How can we participate in the turnaround, for what Eisenstein refers to as "the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible". Let us start with the smaller things, the everyday things; the helping hand, a friendly smile, to say yes instead of no, sharing and giving instead of craving. It's through the small things that greater things may happen. And it starts with me and you.
Andre Avanessian (Jango radio) review of The Keeper:
Ask any self-respecting prog-rock enthusiast and many will say that whilst the ever-evolving nature of the music and its exciting sense of unexpectedness is what gives the genre its very distinct feel and sense of character, it's the fascinating and always thought-provoking way it approaches and articulates its themes that really helps cement the genre as a true powerhouse in rock songwriting, and having found myself thoroughly absorbed by Bob Neft's thoroughly absorbing "The Keeper, it's clear this is an artist that knows this all too well. Serving as a powerful comment on the dangers of censorship, "The Keeper" is as much a song about the importance of standing up to what we believe in as it is about the necessity to question any institution that aims to encroach on our right to freedom of speech, and through Bob's eloquent lyric writing, intriguing use of texture, and continually evolving arrangement, "The Keeper" manages to achieve what it set out to do by providing listeners with a compelling central theme and enough musical diversity to satisfy many a prog-rock lover.
The first word that comes to mind mere seconds into "The Keeper" is most definitely atmosphere, the track is steeped in it. Bob does a very fine job of effectively bringing together a number of interesting textural concepts, specifically in the opening, that not only draw you in but act as a great means to create contrast with the more rhythmically animated guitar sections that soon follow. Blending ambient wind-like sound design with world-music-inspired vocalizations and delicate arpeggiated guitar, the intro to "The Keeper" instantly draws you into its expansive soundscape, gently easing you into its musical world-building before transitioning into its first verse. By the time the lyrics kick in we're into full classic prog territory that echoes the timeless sound of the genre's heyday and "The Keeper" whisks up exciting tempo changes, melodically charged explorations, and a certain air of flair that can only be found in the genre itself.
"The Keeper" is an absorbing piece of progressive rock and I'm sure fans of the style will find it to be an enjoyable listening experience.
Radian Revisted Reviews
Enchanted Review by Andre Avanessian (Jango Radio):
With its thrilling blend of prog-rock, fusion, and new age styles, Bob Neft's utterly riveting instrumental "Enchanted" serves as a masterclass in unbridled creativity that throws many an expected genre trope out the window, and it's all the best for it. Bob Neft warmly invites listeners into his sensational world of exciting melodic expression and sweeping textures, presenting them with a truly memorable listening experience that is brimming with electrifying performances and inspired writing.
Instrumental songwriting is a very particular skill, one that requires perhaps a more nuanced approach due to the advent of a conventional vocal track. Being able to create strong thematic threads that run through the music is integral in ensuring the arrangement feels both cohesive and continually compelling, Bob Neft has not only managed to do just this but it's done in such an enthralling way that listeners will always feel as if they're discovering exciting new elements of the track as it progresses. Whilst a lot of this can certainly be tied to the exciting melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements that serve as the song's main building blocks, the inspired fusing of distinct music styles is what gives "Enchanted" its unique character, whether it'd be the prog-metal-edged guitars and their precise rhythmic attack, new-age inspired vocal and synth moments, or modern orchestral flourishes, "Enchanted" is bursting with a plethora of diverse genre embellishments that make for a particularly absorbing musical landscape. Bold ideas such as the ones found in "Enchanted" are all very well on paper, but it's in the performances that these inspiring nuggets of creativity spring to life and thanks to the very apparent musical talents of Bob, who astonishingly composes and performs all instruments on the track, "Enchanted" delivers on its promise of giving listeners a listening experience that aims to both inspire and compel.
Moments Revew by Zachary Larson (Jango Radio):
Moments by multi-instrumentalist Bob Neft opens with a bouncy, electrified synth melody. This new Progressive Rock Instrumental takes listeners through snapshots of Neft's highly creative musical mind. One of the challenges with writing a Prog instrumental lies in creating effective transitions. Neft does a fine job of moving between ideas, even if the moods are completely contrasting. He avoids sudden stops and predictable phrasing, and instead uses time to his advantage. The slower, more moody sections of the piece could stand strongly on their own, but Neft smartly surrounds them with high-voltage fun. When the introduction returns, listeners are allowed a resolution and sense of completeness at the end of the work. Overall, Moments by Bob Neft is an incredibly colorful Prog Rock tune that bursts at the seams with new ideas and never has a dull moment.
Suspended Review by Steven Azami (Jango Radio)
Overall Impression: "Suspended" is an exciting new release from extremely talented Pittsburgh based musician/composer/producer Bob Neft. This uptempo instrumental track features a lively prog-rock arrangement highlighted by funky percussive bass, frenzied precision drumming and big brassy synths. Fluid themes and triumphant motifs keep the listener engaged throughout this musically intricate piece, aided in part by incredibly compelling solo guitar sections that bring a nice rock element to the table. Fans of prog-rock and jazz fusion alike will find a lot to love about Bob Neft's "Suspended", thanks to the spectacular musicianship and stellar compositional skills on display here.