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Monobody - Raytracing CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.03 | 40 ratings

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5 stars The boys from Chicago are back! As you may recall, their 2015 self-titled debut crashed onto the Post Rock scene with quite a splash! In fact, I rated it as a five-star masterpiece and included it among my list of favorite Post Rock albums of all-time. As good as that album was, this is better. The startlingly quick tempo variations and melodic maturity displayed here shows that these guys have been working hard over the past three years.

1. "Ilha Verde" (10:44) opens with slow, delicate playing from heavily distorted and lightly-flanged electric instruments while drums play clear and pure somewhat sub rosa. Things ramp up into a tight jazz weave in the third minute and then get crazy-cruisin' by the fourth--a little avant with tight stop-and-starts and a very tightly woven weave. By the middle of the fourth minute things are bass-slappin' Primal, if you know what I mean! Then, just as suddenly, at the four minute mark things break down and we glide into a section of gorgeous Lyle-Mays-like melodic jazz. Guitar and piano here are so tight! This is such a diverse odyssey--like a jazz master class! Intricate staccato work returns, followed by the heavier King Crimson-like stuff to the mid-eight minute. Another break as we enter a new dreamy patch. Wow! What a ride! It is truly like experiencing all of the emotional and spatial shifts of Homer's Odyssey--in just under eleven minutes! Great multiple-layered pacing in the final section as drums go frenetic beneath gentler keys and floating guitars on top. (9.5/10)

2. "Raytracing" (4:47) complex, fast-paced weave with, at times, a bassa nova kind of beat structure and some really funky guitar and vibe sounds woven into some gorgeous passages. Incredibly impressive cohesion and synchrony from all band members. Incredibly impressive song! (10/10)

3. "Former Islands" (5:26) the song most like their debut album. It opens fast-paced, intricately woven as Post Rock with a TOE. (Japanese Post Rock band) feel to it. Solid, impressive song with solid, impressive instrumental performances over the course of two movements in an A-B-A-B structure. The melodies in the B section are gorgeous. (10/10)

4. "Echophrasia" (9:59) a gentle, spacey opening section with floating synths and keys over which percussives and guitar noodle their rapidly traveling passages. When things pick up and become jazzier in the third minute, the feel becomes all intricately constructed, well-rehearsed timed rapidly arpeggiated chord progressions--jazz! A spacey interlude in the fifth minute lets everyone catch their breath before guitar arpeggi, cymbol play support trombone and slide guitar work. The intricate weave of guitar, keys, and bass and drums rises and intensifies before a guitar scream introduces a heavy" technical-metal section. This is so impressive the way the whole-band's timing has to be so perfect in order to pull off the realization of these crazy-complex compositions! (9/10)

5. "The Shortest Way" (1:03) a cross between John Martyn's echoplex guitar and Mark Isham's synth work to give the listener a little respite from this stunning album. Thank you! (4.5/5)

6. "Opalescent Edges" (8:08) speaking of Mark Isham, this one opens like a Minimalist Isham-Bill Bruford EARTHWORKS piece. Chunky bass and psuedo-power chords give the third section a little STEELY DAN feel to it. (What?!) But then Conor Mackay just has to show off his amazing speed for a few before we fall into another classic jazz gentle bridge leading to a Stick and vibes weave with keys and bass and drums rockin' out to drown out the band! This sixth minute would have been the perfect finale, but no, the band has to keep going in order to let some individual steam off--here the guitar and synth get some solo time before they weave back into whole before decaying into the sedating final minute of space sounds. Wow! What did I just experience? How does one define this music? "Prog Perfection!" (10/10)

Throw away the Post Rock/Math Rock label, boys, this is Jazz-Rock Fusion at it's most intricately KonstruKted King Crimsonianness.

Five stars; a certifiable masterpiece of modern progressive rock music--and album that would make Seņors Fripp, Bruford, Levin, Belew, Gunn, Mastelotto, Harrison, Jakszyk, and Rieflin proud. My new leader for Album of The Year honors.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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