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Eik - Hrislan Og Straumurinn CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 30 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Not only a record, but a field upon which two definite styles clash in battle! "Hrislan og Straumurinn" plays like a long-lost RPI disc on side A, and switches to compulsive funk-pop for the remainder of its duration. It's an unusual and striking approach, likely to garner your approval and many repeat plays.

The title track starts dauntingly, comparable in peculiarity to King Crimson's "Larks Tongues' in Aspic, part I" if not in ferocity, stirring together some lucid and capricious musical ingredients that are hard to grasp, even when they are repeated. This isn't a section of the record that you'll be able to commit to memory too suddenly! Developing from this point into a lush, lazy progressive ballad, "Hrislan og Straumurinn" suddenly slots in next to names like Premiata Forneria Marconi and Focus in the world of gentle, lovely symphony. Side A is closed by "Eitthva­ Almennilegt" which comes across like a Gentle Giant number circa "Free Hand", with bouncier guitars and a rhythm section that seems to be having even more fun. So far so good.

Side B is different, consisting of shorter, more immediate songs and opening with one based in jazz funk, featuring strange contorted vocals. The Icelandic "Maggot Brain"? Perhaps not, as what follows harks back to the title track in composition, in this case making me think of Crucis (although since I've reviewed their work recently, that was bound to happen) thanks to the unusualness of the song structure. The singing approaches you from all directions, but the star of "═ Dvala" is the guitar player, soloing on electric and acoustic models with equal ease. Over too fast! "┴tthagar" reintroduces almost disco-like funk, although here it shares "space" with tenser-than-Pink Floyd heroic guitar moments. The mood of the track "F˙nk" can be deduced from its title, hopping between carefree, popping basslines and more fusion-styled bridge sections - a lot like a short Herbie Hancock's Headhunter's track with a guest guitarist, with more of a sixties feel. "Fj÷ll" plays out like a quick ital-pop song, with beautiful acoustic guitar playing reflecting in the constant shine of warm electric piano - an instrumental approach that continues to the album's delicate coda, which is a suitable cherry atop the album.

The only problem is that, at 35 minutes of length, the cake is too small; another four minutes' work on each side of the album would allow for some of the small vignettes to grow into songs in their own right, or else allow for the further progression of some of the themes trapped on the album. That's a shame because Eik had the potential to write a masterpiece here. Listen to this album, you'll see what I mean!

laplace | 4/5 |


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