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Burnt Belief - Emergent CD (album) cover

EMERGENT

Burnt Belief

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 9 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Brit Colin Edwin and American Jon Durant have forged quite an auspicious career within the experimental/ambient sub-genre of prog, starting out with their fabulous 2012 debut that ultimately gave birth to the band's now official moniker, Burnt Belief. I find instrumental ambient music to be somewhat of a soporific wish when entirely synthesizer based, so my preference steers towards artists that push the bass guitar nicely up-front and forward, such as the non-prog career of Pat O'Hearn, the very proggy Herd of Instinct/Spoke of Shadows or even more complex stuff like Lebowski, Henry Fool, No-Man or Tim Bowness. Being an unrepentant bass guitar fan, I am always glued to that lifeline of direction when appreciating any kind of music really, so when guided by a seasoned technician like Colin Edwin, whose career path with Porcupine Tree and loads of session work, I am provided all the credibility needed to enjoy such a project. Bringing in a full-time drummer is a judicious idea, as Edwin requires added propellant to make his deep grooves flourish and bloom. Vinny Sabatino is the missing piece that gives the rhythmic pulse a more solid foundation to explore and discover new horizons. The menu is eclectic, diverse yet all imbued with a certain sense of purpose, in my opinion, entirely vehiculated by that nasty bass guitar.

The spellbinding 'The Bubble Bursts' introduces the mood with an array of synthesized keyboards from Jon Durant, Colin's simple rumble and a steady Sabatino pace. The guitar synth then takes command of the direction, but only once the bass has set the controls to the heart of the bubble, coloring the horizon with inspired sounds that swirl mightily. The raspy contortions in the background are pure genius as Durant channels some Frippian energy on his lead guitar.

Being a Canadian, 'More Snow' certainly does not frighten me in any which shape or form, frozen water is actually quite beautiful and refreshing. What is really 'cool' here is the addition of tropical hand drums that give the swooning arrangement a Saharan gleam, a spiraling synthesized flute that assumes to charm many a snake, the bass rumbling below, with occasional blasts of 'cloud' guitar to give the sonic landscape a reprieve from the burning belief. Magical.

On 'Confidence of Ignorance', the overall mood is closer to the more adventurous side of Porcupine Tree, a jungle of liberating sounds that are well anchored into an obsessive fretless bass groove that is quite cinematographic, raising a velvet-draped platform for some scouring leads, courtesy of Durant's visionary guitars and guitar-synths. Sabatino bashes away in apparent astonishment, always trying to subjugate the unyielding bass to his beat. The title track sounds like an homage to the one of the greatest bass players ever, the regretted Mick Karn, who many agree to have been a pioneer of the 4 string monster, easily on par with such legends as Entwhistle, Squire and Pastorius. In fact, his signature 'wobbly' fretless sound is a pure stroke of genius, created melodic aspirations for an instrument that too often holds back and is content to keep a beat. Well, let me tell you, this is quite the sonic adventure, a thoroughly engaging piece of genius that channels the great rhythmic spirits in a reverential manner, while still exciting the senses. Jaw-dropping!

The uber-hypnotic and seriously contemplative 'Until the Stars Go Out' provides ideal cosmic travel, a peaceful stroll into the stratosphere, a respite from all the previous goose bumps and unrequited genius. This is the most ambient piece, spooky, obscure and eerie, with Colin's upright bass doing some clinical stuff, Jon using a marimba sound to great effect. No drums here, but an ultra-efficient programming sequence, flinging this spectral piece into the future.

'Language of Movement' here the cordial fretless bass attains a rubbery status that is most persuasive, evoking past jazz-rock icons like the remarkable Isotope (featuring the late Hugh Hopper), rifling drum shifts and all the room for the various guitars to frolic wildly, in a more conventional fusion method, complete with long sustained notes, as well as uncontrolled devotion to the ecstatic cause.

Another high point is reached on 'Turning Torso', an unquestionably acrobatic 10 minute epic that conjures certain King Crimson-esque gymnastics, Jon Durant is quite able to channel Robert Fripp's mechanical obsession with precision and the resourceful drums certainly find all kinds of modern beats to toy with. The churlish bass does all the conducting on this train, a relentless almost Mike Howlett-inspired Gong furrow that does not surrender to anyone's will. Actually this blending of disciplined King Crimsonite elements with space a la Gong is quite an appropriate one, as this long piece just sparkles seductively. Knee-shaking! Liquid expanses are expressed with great effect on 'Ghosts Aquatic', a cosmological bass rivulet meandering among the stars, both fretless and upright, whilst the guitars weave acoustic and electric patterns, anchored by some superlative drum support, all smoothness and restraint.

I strongly suggest to all fans wondering whether this may appeal to them, to just follow the Colin Edwin groove and let the music shine accordingly. Close your eyes, keep pace behind the bass and imagine! This is no New Age pap, it's not ambient 'watch paint dry' stuff or commercialized pretty noise. Its utterly progressive music of the highest caliber and pedigree. Three albums in and going strong, totally impeccable by any musical standard! 'Emergent' is a sonic paradise of the uppermost quality.

5 embryos

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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