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Karmamoi - Silence Between Sounds CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.76 | 12 ratings

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Steve Conrad
4 stars KARMAMOI- "Karma happening right now", or so it was explained to me. This Italian band formed in 2009, members eager to explore progressive rock music in ways meaningful to them.

On "Silence Between Sounds"- an evocative title that suggests a sort of meditation, a search for meaning- KARMAMOI pose(s) a difficult question: What are the roots, the sources of human failure?

The lyrics suggest that answers lie in stars and classical philosophy, astronomy to Plato.

Using guitar, bass, and drums, yet adding cello, flute, and keyboards- including liberal piano (and with crystalline production), KARMAMOI teamed with several vocalists to depict the ways they seek to explore and understand the question.

"Nashira" which enters after a brief piano-driven prelude, introduces the smoky, sardonic vocals which at first I found off-putting. This is not a knock against Sara Rinaldi, who has a fine, quality voice. It's more a matter of personal taste, and wanting coherence between lyrics and tone.

Nashira also offers the first reference to astronomy, as well as the mythic elements KARMAMOI draws from and utilizes in poetic ways. Nashira is a luminous, white, huge star in the tail of the Capricorn constellation, a star easily visible in the sky.

Musically, we get those smoky vocals, then quickening bass to propel the clean guitar and piano tones, along with alternating quiet and more energetic passages. "Nashira"- The Fortunate One.

Next is "Atma"- seemingly related to the Hindu term "Atman"- the spiritual life principle of the universe. Whereas the previous track lyrics referred to life struggles like rape, addiction, and madness, Atma lyrics examine self-salvation or self-destruction. It's a brief dialogue within self.

Atma begins with dreamy, reflective vocals, then gains intensity, and liquid, bold guitar tones lead finally to an ambiguous ending.

"Sirio" is the sole instrumental track, and one of my favorites on the album. The title suggests "Sirius"- one of the brightest stars in the sky, and according to mythology, the canine companion to Orion. Or, perhaps this is a reference to the Italian holy man, Sirio Carappa?

Somewhat discordant guitar tones lead the complex musical journey on Sirio.

"Martes" may be the most intriguing lyrical entry. Again we hear the sultry vocals that grow more focused referring perhaps to the god of war, Mars, and warning of the all-too-easy path of violence and destruction. Here too, we have the duality of Mars, mated with Venus, and their love-child Harmonia: the lyrics lead to the lovely "Prayer for Peace" in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishads: loosely translated as "From ignorance, lead me to truth; from darkness, to light; from death lead me to immortality. OM- peace, peace, peace".

Next, "Plato's Cave", an invitation to recall Platonic philosophy! Driving guitars and wailing, sardonic, pulsating vocals, which drawl with insouciance, propel this tune. Here are lush passages, interspersed with martial drums as in a solemn dance- depicting perhaps the sense of inner subjugation, being chained to the walls of a cave, and being consumed with the delusion that shadows are real.

Plato's Cave offers the glimpse of redemption, of rising above the lower self and finding True Reality.

Then, the very dark "Lost Days". We hear the soft, tormented tones, and listen to lyrics of haunted days and nights, during which the obsessed lover finds only "your damned soul" while seeking freedom from that obsessive love.

And, the finale, "Canis Majoris". KARMAMOI offers us no neat, quick fix to the challenge- what of human failure?

Canis Majoris again has the sardonic vocal style, at first the music is slow, then grand, and back again. The lyricist poses the tortured question, "Am I mad?" and suggests, "What you hunt is wrong"- what you seek is misguided.

Canis Majoris is a hypergiant red star, which according to astronomers is in the grand, painful process of death over many millennia. The tune slows almost to a stop, then reignites, only to end once and for all.

Thus we are led along this path from enormity to enormity, from star to star, the stars of destiny.

KARMAMOI have crafted a lovely, thought-provoking album filled with layers of meaning, and fine artistry. Once again I am reminded why I am a "Progressive Rock Fanatic".

Steve Conrad | 4/5 |


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