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Gazpacho - Tick Tock CD (album) cover

TICK TOCK

Gazpacho

 

Crossover Prog

4.02 | 407 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Brash guitars institute the beginning of Gazpacho's latest recording, the much-awaited follow up to the stunning predecessor "Night" that caught many fans by surprise, as the "Desert Flight" weaves raunchily forward, proving that, at the very least, this Norwegian band has indeed "progressed". Skillfully gloomy and at times even radiant while retaining their core moody style, Jan-Arne Vilbo's axe rages in rapt fury within a vortex of expressive keyboard swaths , the bass propelling and the drums flailing. A gentle violin caresses the pain; the piano laments the wind as it heads over the sizzling dunes. The two part "The Walk" retrieves the familiar vocal pleadings of vocalist Jan-Erik Ohme , recalling Mark Hollis at times with occasional obvious winks at Steve Hoggarth. A suave mandolin only adds to the thrill, a superb melody blooms from the grooves, a masterful moment that evokes the deepest emotions. Some Kashmirian tendencies come across, courtesy of that amazing violin, the distinctive element that makes Gazpacho such a unique pleasure and a delightful sonic joyride. The music knows how to breathe, requiring eloquent contrast and surprising Middle Eastern tendencies to complement the palette, veering into supple atmospherics of some North African bazaar when you least expect it. The second part goes into an altogether different direction, still a hypnotic magic carpet ride but with massive waves of mellotron, a simpler environment to reconnoiter, the undemonstrative guitars buzzing "en sourdine" like a wispy opiate cloud swirling towards the clear blue sky. The Hoggarth feel is there again, as Ohme gets fervent and frenzied. The 3 part title track targets a timeless horizon, a dreamy, almost muffled arrangement that leisurely builds in determined splendor, the percussive Tick-Tock always present to keep the pulse within echoing keys and poignantly strummed guitar strings. The Mark Hollis inspiration reveals itself now quite clearly, as the simmering axe forages with impetuous distinction, Ohme urging the clock along . Very original and very progressive, to say the least. When the massed male choir arrives unannounced, it becomes obvious that we are in the presence of something momentous, extraordinarily reserved yet growing ever so confidently, the harsh guitar blasting through the haze, the loopy bass seemingly out of control, the piano murmuring softly, the minimalist Tick-Tock still present, this musical osmosis is simply magical. When the bass settles into a comfortable groove, the second part really exposes its true virtue as a glowing expression of raw emotion, the growling guitar contrasting brilliantly with the polyrhythmic mélange. This is some of the most introspective, cinematographic prog I have heard in quite some time, when the violin enters the fray, one can only close their eyes and sway to the singular beauty of such grandiose music. Still the Tick-Tock reappears from the mist, always smoldering in the backwash, never gone, mesmerizing. Part 3 injects some deft piano textures, whooshing mellotron strings, exploding guitar lines, as the colossal wall of sound rolls forward like a lumbering steam engine, lush controlled fury within the deepest chasm of unexpected celestial valleys and unexplored mountains. Simply astounding yet completely unpredictable and never monotonous as the ticking finally fades into the fog of memory. "Winter is Never" acts as a lullaby, gently easing this incredible musical vessel into a glorious finale, a rapture of haunting melancholia that has all the yearnings of hope, despair and finality. Ohme's sublime vocal climbs an octave with scintillating resolve, a moment of sheer, unadulterated ecstasy. The cold soup is still very spicy and quenches the progressive thirst and hunger. What can possibly come next? 5 glorious heartbeats
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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