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От Michael Baryshnikov (2:5023/24.3243) к All

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Hello All!

Залит Shamblemaths/(2021)_Shamblemaths_II

Второй диск этого замечательного норвежского дуэта.
Скажем так: Анекдотен + Юниверс Зеро + ВДГГ.
Темно, мрачно, постапокалептично, но свет ещё проблескивает...

Shamblemaths 2
Eclectic Prog, 2021
(c) Review by siLLy puPPy, PA

SHAMBLEMATHS exhilarated the prog world with its ambitious retro meets modern day prog attack self-titled debut which was released in 2016, a mere twelve years after the act officially gestated in its Norwegian homeland. Led by the intelligent and ambitious Simen Adnoy Ellingsen who serves not only as main songwriter, band leader and multi-instrumentalist, SHAMBLEMATHS reemerges five years later with its second coming simply titled SHAMBLEMATHS 2. While utterly and unthinkably uncreative in the titular department, this brilliant concoction of cultured and curated prog attacks showcases an act that is firing on all cylinders and once again rousing the progheads of the world into a feverish frenzy!

For this sophomore release, SHAMBLEMATHS hosts a completely new set of characters delivering a plethora of progginess and finds bassist Eirik Mathias Husum from the first album jumping ship and replaced by drummer / xylophonist Ingvald A. Vassbo joining as the newest half of the dynamic Norwegian duo. In addition is a star studded guest roster of 12 performing on a host of extra instrumentation and vocals. Most notably is Paola Botta known as the keyboardist from Yugen as well as his stage name Ske. Unlike SHAMBLEMATHS 1, #2 does not take prog to the stratosphere with 20-minute plus tracks but rather keeps things on the shorter side but make no doubt about it, this second offering is chock full of frothy whipped prog in doses so dense and delicious that you may risk certain gluttony if you indulge too much!

Clocking in at only 47 minutes, #2 features nine tracks that are more direct than the debut. Likewise the music casts a darker shadow with heavier guitar workouts, starker contrasts and a much richer assemblage of harmonious vocal performances. The addition of several female vocalists adds a dramatic divine feminine touch which contrasts beautifully with the loose-wire masculine freneticism of the instrumentation which is much more chaotic and complex than the debut as a whole displayed. While album #1 featured every kind of retro influence from the avant-prog of Univers Zero to the zeuhl of Magma, #2 takes on a heavier King Crimson approach with heavier passages evoking the "Red" era whereas the jazzy softer parts reminding of "Islands." Due to the heavinesss bands like Anekdoten and other 90s prog revivalists come to mind as well.

The Ske influences are obvious as well as the avant-prog leanings of the debut are ramped up into near-Yugen adroitness with a huge range of moods generated through myriad tones, textures, timbres and splendiferous motifs. Oft herky jerky and zolo-esque, SHAMBLEMATHS delivers breathtaking prog workouts that evoke the best of the best of prog adventurists reminding of classics like Il Balleto di Bronzo's "Ys" or Birds And Building's most adventurous moments. This winding stampede of progginess is what prog dreams are made of and unlike the debut doesn't waste any time dillydallying with repetitive loops that can derail a fixed attention span. The guitar and bass workouts are a few notches above the last album as well with crazy hairpin turns, dangerous deviations from any expectations and drop of a pin transitions back into soft lush folky pastoral pastiches.

The four part "Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Tela" really does evoke dreams of prog paradise with pretty much everything you could want from a modern prog band. Connections to the classic prog traditions only amplified and taken to the next level or two and then polished like a fine gemstone with a gorgeous production that allows all of the sounds to find their proper role in the scheme of things. While "Parts 1-4" are turbulent and tumultuous as a tossed vessel on stormy seas, "Part 5" oft reminds of "Dark Side of the Moon" with jazzy prog rock accompanied by soulful feminine vocal charm. "Parts 6-8" get all wild and woolly again with quick hairpin turn changes of ethnic folk, avant-prog, metal bombast and KC dexterity. This part particularly mines some complexity from Ske and Yugen's twisted world. The closing "Part 9" tones things down a bit in order to catch your breath and is basically 2-minute ethnic avant-folk down time.

"Been And Gone" on the other hand is sort of an atmospheric 2-minute intro for the closing "This River" which at 9-minutes is the second lengthiest track. Starting with a soft piano and some intimate vocal performances, this track slowly percolates into a jazz-fueled mid-tempo rocker and features a rare return to the bubbling zeuhl rhythms more prevalent on the debut. The classic bass stomps and Teutonic march style is softened by the sultry sax squawks and gentleness of the female vocal parts. No stentorian choirs or vocal bombast on this one. This last track sorta comes off as a 9-minute come down from the frenetic nature of the rest of the album. This track seems like a sonic representation of a reflecting pool where you can process the craziness that you just endured up to this point.

All i can say is - WOW! This is definitely one of those albums that has the key to the dopamine receptors! Contrast is the name of the game here. Brutal bombast, sensual pianissimo, chaotic frenzy and calculated harmonious glory. It's all here where much is familiar but even more is not. This is one of those roller coaster rides where you get off the ride and want to jump right back in and do it all over again. One excellent album is no big deal these days as there are many talented musicians lurking about but SHAMBLEMATHS has proven beyond a doubt that this is a talent that hasn't reached its apex, in fact it's only just begun! Well worth the five year wait as there are no disappointing moments on this one. All hail the giant red eye radiating stripes for all! In a very fruitful year of excellent prog releases, SHAMBLEMATHS 2 sits high on the perch of best albums of the year! Woohoo!!!

WBR, Michael Baryshnikov.

--- wfido
* Origin: FidoNet aka 2:5020/35.323 (2:5023/24.3243)

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