Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emmett Elvin - The End of Music CD (album) cover


Emmett Elvin


Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 41 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Emmett Elvin is an Eclectic Prog multi-instrumentalist from the United Kingdom who started releasing solo albums in 2013. He released his fourth full length studio album in August of 2019 called "The End of Music". Emmett has played most of the instruments on his album, but he also usually recruits several musicians to help him out. "The End of Music" is no exception in that it sees him providing guitars, bass, piano (acoustic and electric), synths, recorders, various percussion objects, vox and etc. He is joined by Alex Thomas who plays drums and percussion, and Sarah Anderson who plays violin and viola. This album has 12 tracks and a total run time of over 59 minutes.

The heavy quirkiness of this album starts off right from the first track "Know Nothing" (4:46). A heavy and catchy bass line lays the ground work while layers of guitars play melody and provide a somewhat thick texture that builds tension that finally gets released to some extent about halfway through the track. His processed vocals are not annoying at all, but actually fit the music quite well. In the 2nd half of the track , the main instrumental riff moves from the guitar to a synth, but the thick layer soon returns. "Magnum Opium" (5:34) uses a fast moving riff and an interesting percussive sound with a slightly easier sound, but still with layers of really nice sounds, including a recorder with an echo and the guitar coming in later, nothing really sound typical here, but it is a very nice sound. Vocals finally come in after 3 minutes as the instrumental layers swirl around and then the heavy guitars take over playing a looping riff and harder drums. The processing of the instruments just gives everything a distinct sound that is not at all unpleasant, but unique and exciting.

"To Live and Die in Llangrannog" (4:29) however, does go for a more traditional sound with various acoustic guitar lines that make for a more laid back and pastoral sound, but with a slight edge to it. It is quite a beautiful sound that surprisingly moves along quite quickly with the ever-moving guitar lines and occasional melodies. Later, the viola comes in with an ascending line that seems to originate from one of the guitar lines. "Tombstone" (0:52) is heavily processed sounds with a simple melody coming out of it all. "Through the Hoops" (7:07) starts with fast percussion and sounds, and then tonal percussion and heavy guitars continue to roll along quickly. The pace varies as it slows to atmospheric and then returns the more chaotic sound. Processed vocals soon come in and the music moves to a lovely passage with sustained synth chords and guitar, but this soon builds again bringing in more guitar lines that work so well together. The drama builds and the music crescendos, then it backs off again. Just as you think it's going to go into a lovely interlude, a driving rhythm and bass come along and turn it into a nice groove that alternates from heavy to funky melodic pastiches. The track just covers all of the bases, yet it sounds coherent and enjoyable all the way through. It all ends with strings and synths creating a lovely symphonic feel.

"Everything Falls Away" (3:57) starts off much heavier and thick with guitar riffs and lines that contradict and work together. More processed vocals come along with one of the more melodic themes thus far and the heavy vocals harmonies are helped along by guest Eden Duke. A fast paced instrumental section sees the piano laying it on quite thickly this time with guitars filling in the spaces, and suddenly that texture gets quite lush as the stacked harmonies get even thicker, creating both dissonant and smooth harmonic lines. Things calm a bit when a guitar melody comes along accompanied only by piano and some bass. "Staggered" (3:46) works on a complex, yet more moderate rhythm with rolling drums, guitars and melodic lines coming from other guitars and piano. Synths come in later and the whole thing becomes more complicated before it all irons itself out again. The entire sound altogether reminds one of the full sound of an orchestra, but with all rock instruments. It's quite amazing, but then so far, this entire album has been amazing. "Butterfly in the Labyrinth" (7:04) turns sounds from the instruments into an almost percussive sound as the piano works to build up the music. Soon the drums join in to the rolling sound, and it does tend to remind one of a butterfly fluttering around. Brass-like music lays out the main melody while this fast fluttering continues, then that suddenly goes away and the music turns quite direct with a solid beat and heavier guitar and synth layers. After 4 minutes, there is a fade out and then the fluttering and rolling piano starts later joined by complex drumming patterns. Later, the heavy guitar joins in again.

"No Wonder" (5:38) starts with a repeating synth loop and the Rhodes playing a simple melody. A tense rhythm begins and then guitar lines come in, but everything stays rather light and very nice. With an almost Krautrock style, it sucks you in to it's repetitive loops, when suddenly, after 3 minutes, processed vocals come in and it all becomes heavier, then this stops, things get atmospheric, and guest Olga Lisikova provides some lovely and dreamy vocals. "The End of Music" (4:55) begins sounding like an orchestra warming up. A synth loop fades in with a soft melody playing over it. Dreamy vocal effects in the background appear from the synth loop that changes chords as needed, until a nice and smooth drum pattern comes in and the guitars take charge making it all more solid. Things do quiet down after a while for a nice violin solo, and later more string layers get added in, then synths and guitars take turns with the melody. The synth loop returns later. "The End of Everything" (3:31) starts with a more acoustic feel with rhythmic strumming and another guitar playing a melody and lush synths following along, giving it an almost European feel. Things grow tenser and dischordant as it continues, but it all resolves to a surprisingly beautiful slide guitar effect. The last track is a reprise of "Everything Falls Away" (8:04). The track pretty much fades in from where the original one ended earlier in the album, with thick layers of vox and instrumental effects, but it all fades early just before the 2 minute mark. Then you have silence before the hidden track starts after 7 minutes with a lot of layered noise, like leftover scraps just thrown together, that builds and then suddenly stops.

This album is simply amazing. One of the best things I have heard this year. It is all quite amazing how the instrumentation is all laid out on this album to almost sound like a modern day orchestra with rock instruments and modern day looping and effects. The layers here all work together beautifully, and even the processed vocals are not annoying at all, but fit the entire dream-like feeling perfectly. The music is lush, harmonic, and at times straightforward and direct. It utilizes these textures quite well, moving from one to the other with ease. Dynamics are also well used here, things can be pensive and lovely and suddenly increase in tension and even playfulness instantly, yet all sound so cohesive. The music is brilliantly composed, with every sound well placed in the entire scheme of things. I simply love this sound and rate it as an essential album that I think needs to be heard among the many releases of the year. I find it impossible to describe this music as it is fresh and exciting, unique and wonderful. A masterpiece! Easily 5 stars and one of the best of the year!

TCat | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this EMMETT ELVIN review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.