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CD REVIEW: Ryan David Orr - Mordred The Quarter Known
By Cyrus Rhodes - 03/15/2012 - 04:14 PM EDT

Artist: Ryan David Orr
Album: Mordred The Quarter Known
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Progressive Rock and Neo Progressive
Sounds Like: Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, Chris De Burgh
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 6/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: If you Want Love, April, Butterfly
Weakness: Bright Mix, Eccentric Catalogue, Marketability
CD Review:

Arizona based Ryan David Orr releases his fourth CD to date entitled Mordred The Quarter Known in 2012. For those who don’t know - In the legendary stories of King Arthur, Mordred is the son of King Arthur and his half sister, the dark love child born out of deceit who returns to betray and kill his father. Orr is clearly a passionate fan of literature and poetry – and some of this is reflected in his songwriting craft.

The CD takes flight with Track 1 “If you Want Love” a slamming into piece that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with it’s driving rock rhythm, hard hitting rhythm guitar, and hypnotic vocal vibe from Orr. Track 2 “Hope and Fire” is an upbeat follow-up that serves up upbeat rock groove against easy flowing guitar rhythms and ambience with a grand slam chorus. Track 3 “Where the World is Waiting for” shifts gears a bit with it's thought provoking wisdom that offers a heartfelt vocal delivery, amazing harmonies against compelling lyrical content.  As the CD slowly unfolds, I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic acts like Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and Chris De Burgh with respect to some of the vocal harmonies and dynamic writing style. The music itself is an impressive blend of progressive, alternative, and classic rock. Orr’s impressive voice goes down smooth and is full of passion, vulnerability and bold honesty. The musicianship from all the session players involved is world class. Also present besides the 4 piece standard you will notice sizzling guitar solos, Hammond Organ, Saxophone, Cello, lush-layered harmonies and well placed Keyboard layered along the way. The songs themselves are extremely consistant, dynamic, and melodic in nature. The songwriting is extremely creative and highly original. Each song possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Many of the songs have a theatrical ambience about them making for a very entertaining listening experience. I especially like how the whole CD just flows across the ears song for song and note for note - each piece interconnected with the next. From dynamic “April, and "I’m sure the Stars Understand” to melodic “Carry Me Home” and “Scream at the Clouds” to enlightening “It’s only You” to striking “Woman” to heartfelt “The Ocean I Bleed Before” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 “Butterfly” the perfect finale statement for a CD of thsi caliber.

The production quality is a bit bright offering much in the way of high-end frequency. I wish there was more low-end punch and feel to many of the songs. Many pieces are clever indeed but it’s fair to say some of the subject matter and lyrics are a bit quirky, over the top and overly eccentric. There comes a time where when left to their own devices some artists wiill over indulge you with their heightened intellect and eccentricity. Some of this can go beyond enlightening and becomes just outright confusing to the mass audience. At the end of the day some of this material will be hard for the mainstream to relate to and I doubt a mass audience will be able to identify with this material. All of the above does affect the CD’s overall marketability.

Overall Mordred The Quarter Known by Ryan David Orr is an extremely entertaining,dynamicand brilliant catalogue of music. It’s strong suit – the amazing amount of originality, creativity and rich conventional wisdom Orr has to offer. I especially enjoyed the theatrical drama quality to some of the pieces. All in all Orr stands out from other artists with his unique signature sound, passion and heightled level of musical enlightenment.

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