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In The Labyrinth - The Garden of Mysteries CD (album) cover

THE GARDEN OF MYSTERIES

In The Labyrinth

 

Prog Folk

3.49 | 11 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars This is an artist I ran across in the midst of a Google frenzy researching a completely unrelated band. This is a rare review of an album I don’t own (yet), but I felt it was worth commenting on. The album is apparently out-of-print, and in fact I wasn’t able to find it listed in any catalogs or on-line sites I’m aware of, but there are some used copies floating around.

In any case, that doesn’t take away from the very positive experience most prog fans will likely have listening to this (assuming they can find it). This isn’t really a band per se; it’s more like a group of acquaintances with similar musical interests who collaborate with Peter Lindahl to produce the occasional offering. Lindahl, in addition to playing a ton of instruments and mixing the album, also appears to be the guy who owns most of the recording equipment. So I guess that means he gets to call the shots. The gnome-like creature on the album cover was painted by him too. In poking around the web I see there are at least three representations of this drawing, try and find them yourself and see if you can spot the differences!

There are strong world-music sensibilities to this album, but don't get the impression that it should be lumped in with Irish drinking songs and African percussion bands and Russian folk tunes and all the other world music CDs in the dusty bins at the public library. It’s a bit more than that. Lindahl and friends apparently have a longstanding interest in several musical styles, many Middle Eastern, and most of which are evident in both the song titles and the music itself. There are Turkish, Indian, and even Mediterranean sounds aplenty, particularly in the rhythms and percussion, but also at times the arrangements swell to a bit of a pompous mood, almost Baroque-like (and of course totally appropriate for any self-respecting progressive work).

The whole album is an extended exploration of represented in the mystical and exotic garden, sort of a slightly Eastern-influenced Alice in Wonderland, I suppose. There are very few vocals actually, so much is left to the imagination.

Overall this is a very strong, mostly instrumental album with several beautiful arrangements that combine all manner of ethnic instruments with modern rock ones (just electric guitar and bass really); plenty of synthesized sounds and mellotron (with numerous different flute sounds); languid tempos; and lots and lots of percussion. Fans of world music, middle-eastern traditional sounds, and even ‘tron fans will more than likely appreciate this album.

No particular tracks stand out (all of them are very good), but a couple are worth mentioning. “Monsoon” with its moody flute and wistful piano accented by humming female backing vocals and a sole electric guitar is a strong track. This would be great to listen to on a rainy spring afternoon (and someone please tell me where that piano sequence came from, because I know for a fact I’ve heard it before somewhere). “Aral” is mostly synthesized strings and quite a bit different than most of the rest of the album, but does a great job of creating that spacey mood like the still in a storm that brings with it an air of expectation, and really captures one’s attention; and “Ya Qadar” – if you like middle-eastern drums and percussion, this one will really get your feet and hands working.

I’m not totally sure what to make of these guys, but I liked this album enough that I'm purchasing the other two, which can still be found on the artist's web site. I’ve never heard much else quite like these guys, and am looking forward to hearing more. A highly recommended album if you like instrumental music, mellotron, loads of exotic percussion and ethnic instruments, and are willing to get lost inside the mood of an album for an hour or so. Four stars.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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