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Jack O' The Clock - Repetitions Of The Old City-1 CD (album) cover

REPETITIONS OF THE OLD CITY-1

Jack O' The Clock

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 63 ratings

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BrufordFreak
5 stars

JACK 'O THE CLOCK Repetitions of the Old City - I

I really liked 2013's All My Friends but it showed signs of the band not firing on all cylinders yet--not everyone seemed able to rise up to composer Damon Waitkus' expectations. I'm glad to report that, while this is, sadly, only the second Jack O' The Clock album I've listened to, immaturity and scattered energy are no longer at issue: the band is performing Damon's compositions seemlessly, flawlessly, and Damon's composition and production skills are at his most masterful high.

1. "I Am So Glad To Meet You" (1:37) Damon Waitkus singing multiple tracks in his unusual, warbly, ANDY GIBB-like voice over an atmospheric echoscape. (7.5/10)

2. "The Old Man And The Table Saw" (10:30) a refreshing prog folk composition that sounds like no one else, proclaims (or reconfirms) that Jack O' The Clock is unique to folk and progressive rock music. (9/10)

3. "When The Door Opens, It Opens On Everything" (12:08) opens with a very folk/bluegrass-sounding acoustic guitar intro. At 1:15 the music shifts to a kind of AARON COPELAND/EDGAR MEYER sound in support of Daimon's vocal. Kate McLaughlin's bassoon plays a nicely prominent role in this one. Stellar performances by all band members in this mesmerizing composition. I even hear echoes of some of the sounds, melodies, and dueling of John McLaughlin's SHAKTI music ("Get Down and Sruti" from Natural Elements) on this one. (9.5/10)

4. "Epistemology / Even Keel" (5:45) opens sounding far more like an old WEATHER REPORT or JONI MITCHELL soundscape. But then all that dissipates in lieu of Daimon's nursery rhyme-like vocal. Not quite a cappela, it is supported rather sparsely with bird- and animal-like sounds created by acoustic instruments. The second half ("Even Keel"?) uses an electric jazz guitar and acoustic guitar to provide the foundational support for Daimon's voice. Double bass, shrill violin chirping, bassoon and flute provide occasional and intermittent accents and support. I like this song a lot. It's certainly a top three song. (9.5/10)

5. ".22, Or Denny Takes One For The Team" (6:58) opens as if we are getting to unleash a high-speed Celtic reel, but when dulcimer, electric bass and drums enter to support and mirror the established lead melody of the violin, it feels more rock like. At 1:30 everything shifts into a dreamy MARK ISHAM-like section. Violin and cymbal play support the baseball reference section as sung by Daimon and his support chorus. A lot of FLEET FOXES similarities in this middle section. I like it very much. The story here feels very dream-like, as if imagination (and time) is toying with the recollection of some past memory. My favorite song on the album. (10/10)

6. "Videos Of The Dead" (7:21) opens with bass and low tom thumping a slow, straight 2/2 time while the guitar of prog legend Fred Frith slide over and between. While the time signature gradually shifts, and the song develops, it is still fairly sparse and simple when Daimon's simple vocal begins. At 2:50 things become heavier, more insistent as first the low end and then the middle of the soundscape fills a bit. Flute solos in the fourth and fifth minutes while the song shifts and other instruments snake around beneath. When Daimon returns to sing at the end of the fifth minute, a full Nu-grass kind of jam is mounting an assault beneath him. then, suddenly, at the 5:40 mark, order is restored just when I thought (and hoped) that wild chaos was about to break open. Awesome, even amazing song. My other top three song. (9.5/10)

7. "Whiteout" (2:28) a foundation of odd sounds (including synths, zithers, bass clarinet, bowed double bass, and what sounds like a backwards flowing solo electric guitar throughout) supports the slow, treated play of a hammered dulcimer. (9/10)

8. "Fighting The Doughboy" (13:42) starts out with a bit of an odd, gangly plod-and-hop sound that might have come off of a MAHAHIVSHNU ORCHESTRA or JEAN-LUC PONTY rehearsal during the 1970s. By the end of the second minute it's feeling more like a UNIVERS ZERO song. But then lyrics/vocals appear. At 4:30 the song suddenly steps into a straightforward rhythm--but only for about half a minute, when it returns to the syncopated UZed sound, style and pacing. Horns, violin, vibes, and bassoon are all quite prominent. At 6:30 another foray into straightdom provides a section with some interesting background vocal activities and harmonies--and even a lead vocal from a different male (Jason Hoops?). At 8:20 a kind of calypso foundation begins over which SHANKAR-like violin melody leads before a flanged Daimon Waitkus vocal slowly emerges (and continues moving into the foreground--with accompanying vocalists). At 10:30 new section begins with a sound that is reminiscent of some of JONI MITCHELL's jazzy-world music from the mid 1970s. Voice samples from the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. are interwoven among the Dixieland party that ensues--and plays out to the song's end. Intriguing song! High marks for creative originality. (9/10)

9. "After The Dive" (3:38) a very cool, unusual song with great, delicate performances from all--and a nice vocal from Daimon. (9/10)

A masterpiece of prog folk and progressive rock music. This band is maturing, gelling into one of the most compelling masters of the modern prog scene.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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