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October Equus - Permafrost CD (album) cover

PERMAFROST

October Equus

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.98 | 14 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars I'm one of those who believe that instrumental music can have a concept and tell a story. You can take the track titles or any other element able to address your mind and make you concentrate to the subject and in this way better appreciate what the music says. Instrumental allows more freedom to the imagination.

This is one of those albums. As the previous releases of October Equus there's a strong RIO flavor in the vein of Art Zoid and Univers Zero, but the music is more approachable even by listeners not used to the genre.

The concept is made clear by the inside pages of the CD booklet. The permafrost is the ground whose temperature is below zero for almost all the year. Literally "permanent frost". This gives the idea of a cold land, but the key is the copy of a piece of paper signed by Lord Franklin, the unlucky explorer who died with his whole crew searching for the North-West passage (there's also a Pentangle's song about him).

Musically it's dark but not too much. There's room for all the instrumentists even though is the guitar which has the most relevant parts. It's singular as the track which for its title should be the most dark and sad, "Graves of the crewmen buried on Beechey Island" is the most relaxed, instead. Everything is already happened and it sounds like an elegy. On this track all the band members show excellent jazz skills and this jazz element is one of the reasons why this track doesn't sound too dark.

It's my opinion, and I can be wrong, but I think that what makes a track very dark is when the passages are so unusual and apparently disconnected that the listener struggles in finding a structure to follow and has to surrender and let it go without the possibility to anticipate a single note. In this album, and mainly in this track, the jazz structure is audible enough and this makes the things simpler for the listener. You won't be able to anticipate any single note even now, but a structure is perceivable.

In any case I think that the music succeeds in commenting the story of a crew of sailors lost and dead in a frozen deserted land at the borders of the world. Read the titles, look at the pictures inside the booklet, follo the music and enjoy.

Not less than 4 stars.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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