The Fall (Mediabook)

SKU: KSCOPE286
Label:
KScope Records
Category:
Post Progressive
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"Charismatic duo Se Delan is the newest act to be signed to Kscope, a revered label known for its “post-progressive sounds” and incredible line-up, which includes genre stars like Anathema, Gazpacho, Amplifier, Steven Wilson, and The Pineapple Thief. Considering its peers, then, it's surprising to note how laidback and relatively simple the music on the group’s debut LP, The Fall, is. Rather than aim for lengthy songs, virtuosic arrangements, and grandiose ideas, the pair constructs warm yet solemn atmospheres and subtle yet alluring melodies.It’s an enticing and moody introduction to a band that definitely earns its place amongst so many dazzling siblings.

Comprised of multi-instrumentalist Justin Greaves (Crippled Black Phoenix) and Swedish vocalist Belinda Kordic (whose wispy voice is both seductive and haunting), the record is an interesting blend of folk, shoegaze, rock, and pop, like a wonderful blend of Alcest, Of Monsters and Men, and Lady & Bird. As you might’ve guessed, Greaves crafted the music while Kordic wrote the melodies. Although it’s arguably a bit too cyclical in arrangement and melody, The Fall is a chilling and beautiful examination of life." - Rebel Noise

 

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    $14.00
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Which is why for this writer, on hearing how the psych journeymen chose to open their latest record Commune – with the ominous clang of a temple bell (like a theological inversion of the opener on Black Sabbath's debut) – it felt oddly apt, fateful almost. It was as if they knew I was scared to listen to the record; they responded by scaring me further with ecclesiastical percussion instruments.Goat should be given full credit for inspiring this sense of meaning and excitement; the album that follows is no stylistic leap forward for the band, yet it still exercises a deeply persuasive power over your head and hips. They largely stick to the heavy, kinetic, afro-influenced rock that proved such a winning formula, the only obvious developments being that the guitarists seem to be taking more cues from desert-rockers like Tamikrest and Tinariwen, and the songs show an increasing preference for subtlety over immediacy in the hooks department. Yet despite the apparent lack of new ideas here, the undeniable success of this work lies in Goat's deepening and development of the musical and spiritual themes presented on in World Music.And I'd go as far as to argue that Commune is very much a spiritually informed record. Whilst Goat hinted at a certain kind of gently cosmic, communal worldview via the obscure vocal samples on their debut, on this record their spiritual statement feels much more pronounced. Not only can this be seen in the song titles (opener 'Talk To God', 'The Light Within') and the appearance of more vocal samples ("There is only one meaning of life, and that is to be a positive force in the constant creation of evolution" – woah there!), but it's also evident in the production. Instruments are slathered in embalming-chamber reverb, ritualistic hand percussion is laced through almost every track, and the more laidback atmosphere means that instead of getting party-starting booty-shakers like 'Run To Your Mama' we get absorbing, contemplative grooves like the headspinning rhythms of 'Hide From The Sun' and 'Bondye', an instrumental track named after a voodoo deity which realises the trance-inducing implications of repetition. When Goat first emerged listeners may have been unsure about the sincerity of their transcendental allusions, and I for one suspected that their flirting with hippy ideologies was a self-conscious part of their selling point. However, with Commune, I'm now convinced this band genuinely have something to say. On tracks like 'Goatslaves' for example, you can actually make out quite easily what the vocalists are singing, and the message is direct: "Too many people living on their knees", yell the female voices over a stern, militant beat. 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Nestling stylistically in a place between Omar Khorshid and Tony Iommi, it rips mercilessly through the track's disorienting metre, and may well encourage listeners to stare into the distance with a purposeful look on their face. Fans will be glad to hear that there are plenty more of those moments to be had with this album – see the taut, fidgety funk of 'The Light Within' and the pleasantly pastoral flute on 'To Travel The Path Unknown' amongst others.Goat stand out from the rest of the contemporary psych crowd as an undeniably modern, internet-age band in that they create their own successful and popular sound by synthesising a plethora of B-musics and fringe influences made easily available through the work of labels like Finders Keepers and Sublime Frequencies. Yet Commune is so much more than record-collector rock. Album closer 'Gathering Of The Ancient Tribes', in a stylistic echo of the first track 'Talk To God' features a lattice of Malian-sounding guitars offset against heavy bass and insistent beats, before dissipating into a haze of guitar noise, organ drone and that same meddlesome temple bell. It's details like this that prove Goat are clearly concerned with more than flogging a tasteful blend of trendy influences – Commune is a truly artistic statement." - THE QUIETUS 
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Many prestigious guests contributed to enrich the sound, among others Claudio Simonetti from Goblin, Gianni Leone from Il Balletto di Bronzo, Martin Grice from Delirium, Vinz Aquarian from Il Ballo delle Castagne or Sophya Baccini. The result is excellent and the music and lyrics perfectly fit the concept although I fear that is almost impossible to completely appreciate this complex work without having read the book that inspired it.The Green Face was written in 1916 and is set in a surreal Amsterdam post World War I. It is is pervaded by a strong sense of mysticism and spirituality... "I want to see a fresh, unknown world, I want a new sense of wonder such as must strike an infant if he were to become a grown man overnight... I want to be a full-stop rather than eternally a comma in the punctuation of time... ".The opener "Echi dall'ignoto" (Echoes from the Unknown) is a short instrumental, provided by the guest Federico Pedichini a.k.a. Freddy Delirio from Death SS, that sets the atmosphere. It leads to the nervous, hypnotic "La bottega delle meraviglie" (The Hall of Riddles) that describes a visit to a very strange shop where the borders between reality and dream are blurred. Here the protagonist of the novel, Fortunatus Hauberrisser meets for the first time the strange, haunting character with the green face portrayed in the beautiful art work by Danilo Capua... "It was smooth, with a black strip of cloth tied over its forehead, and yet it was deeply furrowed, like the sea, that can have waves but not wrinkle on its surface. The eyes were like chasms and yet they were the eyes of a human being and not empty sockets. The skin was a greenish olive colour and looked as if it were made of bronze, such as the races of ancient times may have had of whom it is said they were like dark-green gold..."The dark, Gothic "Chidher il Verde" (Chidher the Green) focuses on the peculiar character with the green face, vaguely based upon the legendary figure of The Wandering Jew. He's been on earth ever since the moon has been circling the heavens and is the one who can show you the way leading to a hidden spirituality... "Prophecy or circularity, claustrophobia, psychic undertow / You are just one step from the gallows / It's the turn of madness to rule over men...".The following "Trenodia delle dolci parole" (Threnody of the sweet words) features the beautiful vocals of the guest Sophya Baccini and draws a strong sense of loss and impending tragedy. It leads to the short, disquieting instrumental "Il rituale" (The ritual) and to the esoteric, threatening "La congrega delle Zee Dyk" (The Zee Dyk club) where the spectral vocals of another guest, David Krieg, contribute to draw a mystical delirium where the dangerous ritual of a cathartic, spiritual rebirth is consumed with deathly consequences."Il manoscritto" (The manuscript) is another track full of dark mysticism and visionary strength. There are some strong classical influences that could recall the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff and a constant flowing of raw energy waves. The protagonist discovers an ancient manuscript that helps him to go through some esoteric experiences... "The weapons of Death are: dream, daze and sleep / From one awakening to another, I live to find a new beginning...".The excellent instrumental "L'evocazione di Eva" (Eva's evocation) features the guests Claudio Simonetti (organ, Moog and Mellotron) and Martin Grice (flute sax). Along with the following "Retrospettiva di un amore" (Retrospective of a love) it depicts a love where spirituality prevails upon materialism. A strange magic binds the protagonist and his sweetheart, the strange prophecy of a perfect love that is stronger than Death..."Usibepu" was inspired by the character of the powerful necromancer and shaman of the same name, a violent and merciless Zulu warrior who wanted to possess Eva, the protagonist's fiancée... "Serving under the banner of greediness / I attend to the resurrection / I think again of the caste determination that prevented me from having you / Making even mockery of my magic...".The dazzling instrumental "L'apocalisse" (The Apocalypse) features the guest Gianni Leone (keyboards, organ, vocals) and describes with sudden vortexes of notes a storm so violent to conjure up the imagine of the end of the world. It leads to the final curtain of "Epilogo" (Epilogue), featuring narrative vocals and an obscure omen... "The walls of Jericho have crumbled / He's back from the Kingdom of Dead...".On the whole, an excellent, challenging work but beware! It takes many spins to be completely appreciated and, of course, you have to read the book!" - ProgArchives
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  • "Here's an unusual progressive-rock project. Spearheaded by drummer François Bernatchez, Qwaarn isn't just the name of a band with members rotating in and out as needed; it's also the main character in the sci-fi-meets-real-world story spanning Aberrations and its predecessor, 2004's The Word of Qwaarn. While some of the Canadian band's influences from that debut album remain on Aberrations (including Genesis and Yes), the new disc is being billed as a "pop-gressive" record by its label, Unicorn Digital, with echoes of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Tears for Fears and The Cure. Didier Berthuit often sings with a heavy accent, and his lengthy carnival-esque soliloquy on "The High Muckity-Mucks" grates after only a few seconds (even though it's meant to be satirical). Guitarists Antoine Bernatchez and Martin Bleau, however, evoke David Gilmour on tracks like "Privilege" and "Dream in Am," and their warm, acoustic material also helps set Aberrations apart from some of the other artists on Unicorn's roster. While the Middle-Eastern flavor of the murky alt-rocker "Mr. Lotto" unveils another side of Qwaarn, the epic "Did You Say Salmon?" proves this collective is first and foremost a progressive-rock band. A bit of an odd progressive-rock band, but a progressive-rock band nonetheless." - sea of tranquility.com
    $15.00
  • "I actually found Carving an Icon quite the retroactively blind purchase, suspiciously ironic since I had been tracking this project for quite a while and assumed I knew what to expect from Morfeus in regards to his avant-garde songwriting and abstruse, distinctive approach to the axes. From this isolated point of view, his sonic handprint is indeed all over Viper Solfa, making the unreasonably long wait for Dimension F3H’s This Mechanical World somewhat easier to mitigate since the dude has at least kept the old creative mind juiced as ever. What I wasn’t quite able to ready myself for was the remaining contributions, hardly something to just gloss over, as Viper Solfa is presented as something of a “supergroup” after all as opposed to a mere side-project.Ronny Thorsen supposedly leads Viper Solfa for all formal intents and purposes, the proclivity for many a conflagration granted by his burly speaking timbre and rousing death roars is a concerted force to be reckoned with. It can be argued that he is just another head in the pack, hardly boasting the standalone merit to turn one’s knees to jelly, but Viper Solfa isn’t done yet. The centrepiece of the band isn’t actually Thorsen, but Miriam Renvåg, whose swaying, affecting timbre opens doors unexpected for the band both conceptually and stylistically. So while I can’t feign shock now, I do recall bemused skepticism at the introduction of such audaciously disparate factors. Renvåg’s voice is very sleek and refined, with an almost pop-caliber cadre of appeals that land Viper Solfa closer to bands such as earlier Sirenia once the vocal trade-off between Thorsen is taken into account. It isn’t what I expected, having come into this project for Morfeus alone, but I certainly applaud Viper Solfa for attempting to merge sodden, opaque, death growls with avant-garde female vocal idiosyncrasy.With nearly all preconceptions espoused by this point, and with Renvåg’s quivering and psychedelic banshee wails taking their mental toll, I realized that there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between Dimension F3H and Viper Solfa. Symphonics are used sparingly and as punctuation as opposed to the primary arsenal. Morfeus is basically the main songwriter here, and he is still shipping out crunchers of high order in the modern black/death format he began employing in earnest on Legacy of Evil during his waning years with Limbonic Art. In fact, the hard-lined, basal distortion sounds very similar to that record, and as the rollicking, flighty webbing of tremolos grow thicker and denser, Carving an Icon hammers out a welcoming mat to the most unexpected clientele.This ends up being the album’s tripping point, however, as far too much time is spent grooming vocal melodies that sound almost shoehorned in just for the sake of keeping the singers occupied. Thorsen’s petulant rasp gets one-upped by Renvåg’s (sometimes sorely overacted) caterwauling, and the end result borders on the monotonous more often than it should. The band still makes a good show of their missteps, what with a dense, abysmal grandeur pervading the nether reaches of what is honestly a relatively compact and easy listen on the whole, but these shortcomings remain. Carving an Icon may not be a masterpiece, or even the best outlet for all of the talents involved, but I can promise that it sounds like absolutely nothing you have heard lately, or likely will in the near future. At the end of the day, a neat project that delivered at least a few truly lethal numbers like “Whispers and Storms,” “Deranged” and most notably the floods of choppy, aggrandized viscera that embody the aptly-titled “Vulture Kingdom.” My expectations are not in line with the norm due to my familiarity with Morfeus’ back-catalogue, so take of this what you will, but Carving an Icon got more than a few spins out of me."
    $7.00