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Thork - Nula Jedan CD (album) cover

NULA JEDAN

Thork

 

Prog Folk

4.39 | 18 ratings

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Nilman
5 stars Thork have gone through some personnel changes - that's the starting point to comprehend the musical decisions and changes there are on Thork's new album Nula Jedan.

At the time of Urdoxa, Thork was a clear five piece band, young and ambitious. While their music was already stunning in their debut, there still was some defects in there: The band was young, unexperienced, they were short on singer and good production. These all were corrected on their second album We-ila that was a pure perfection in every point: They now had a brilliant lead singer Sébastien Penel, they had more experience not only for themselves, but in complementary personnel too - that was David Maurin, a stunning guitar player, plus a pile of brilliant guest stars like Roselyne Berthet, Renaud Burdin, Sébastien Lacroix, Stéphane Lagarde and Ian-Elfinn Rosiu. So they were on the top in every way... and things tend to change in situations like that.

At first, after Urdoxa, Antoine Aureche, one of the founding members of Thork, left the band and later went to form TAT. He played guitars and did the vocals on Thork's debut Urdoxa and he then resigned the band. On We-ila he was still in, but in a visiting role of playing acoustic guitar, and even if the acoustic guitar playing is excellent on Nula Jedan, Antoine still took a part of Thork with him, a part of the dark, anxious atmosphere.

The second to leave was David Maurin, Samuel Maurin and Roselyne Berthet! Well, Roselyne was only a quest on We-ila, but her absence is still remarkable :) But the most remarkable thing is the absence of Maurin Brothers: No more twisted, utterly complex songs, no more absolutely stunning stick and bass, nor brilliant picking of guitar or their fantastic interplay and heavy bursts! These three excellences brought a huge piece of NIL among, that's no more on Thork. And then went Lebeau. Even if he was replaced by an excellent drummer Philippe Maullet from Syrinx, still he is a 'quest' and Lebeau wasn't.

And then they kind of went everyone, even Penel! Excluding Sébastien Fillion, who now is Thork, in a way, and I don't know the reasons. Thork has turned to his personal project, he states and Sébastien Fillion is alone responsible of the songwriting, composing, vocals, guitars, bass, synths & keyboards, percussion,... Almost everything and the other musicians are only some kind of quests from the past... like Claire Northey on violin, the only remaining member from previous Thork besides Fillion himself... and from the present.

A sad story, isn't it?

Oh, it is. When playing We-ila and thinking 'that was it, this band is no more', it's really sad. But let's not hurry, there's the Nula Jedan still to be played! Onto that then...

Nula Jedan has a very concrete meaning: it means "Zero One" in Bosnian, and it's the core concept for this album. The album's thread is a man-machine duality, presented under various shapes : in war time, trouble, souvenir, distance, etc. The man apart from his soul becomes a machine, and conversely the complex machine manages to judge, dream and imitate the man, reproducing or drawing lessons from his mistakes. « Zero One » is an allusion to the binary code present in the heart of modern technologies nowadays. [Sébastien Fillion on Progscape]

1. Ex-Slave. This song makes me suspicious about all the things I just wrote, because there is a lots of old Thork in it! This song is dark and deep and it has got the atmosphere of Thork, only less heavy. The composition is long with ups and downs, fasts and slows, and there's a theme it follows, gets sidetracked, comes back... so there's at least some of the complexity too. The drum work is just stunning (well what did you expect? It's Philippe Maullet, no less) and the sounds are chrystal clear a very deep bodied and great harmonies are presented all the way with different instruments, acoustic guitar, drums and violin being on the top!. The duo vocals of Violette Corroyer and Fillion just do work, like all the vocals in this song! So, this is a stunning song, why to look back?

2. Ici is then a beautiful and joyful curiosity where a sampled vocal melody is used to let the music blow. There goes a slow part ending into vocals and blow... Some synths are being used almost in some disco style and the song is somewhat repetitive... right! Far from the Thork style we used to know. But hey, it's brilliant anyhow!

3. La Lumiere starts slowly and it remains as a restrained ballad for several minutes till it reaches the full bodied balance. Again, one of the pearls of this album, but different to old...

4. J'aurais pu is the song that gives your spine some massive chills! It's pure beauty of slow sampled vocals and percussion - maximal expression and feeling with a minimal playing. This song grants the final confidence of new Thork, what it is and what is the style of Thork! Thork has turned to reaching the maximum beauty, thus there is a crucial difference to the old Thork.

Maybe it's time to draw a conclusion - It's pointless to tell something about every song. I miss the old Thork, I miss the brilliant vocals, I miss the dark heavy play,... I miss many things about it, things that Sebastien Fillion isn't capable of alone. Like vocals that is performed here greatly and really beautifully, just that the loud passionate highlights are missing... But let's face the reality! Thork is now beautiful, elaborate and kind of minimalistic expression progressive rock performed with a very high standards - Nula Jedan is astonishing work, a truly original album straight into the top of this sub genre... sub genre? Dark Progressive Folk? Maybe Thork plays now rather in the sub genre of Elaborate Progressive Fillion. Anyhow, a very beautiful work indeed!

Nilman | 5/5 |

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