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Combat Astronomy - Dreams No Longer Hesitate CD (album) cover

DREAMS NO LONGER HESITATE

Combat Astronomy

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.00 | 8 ratings

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avestin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Crushing music. Ever heard that term? Probably yes and in most instances, you'd figure, the adjective refers to whatever sort of metal music, hardcore, deathcore, grindcore. Well that is a term I would use for some of these and several recent albums I listened to from these styles do in fact seem to crush down upon you with blistering guitars and drumming, threatening to pulverize your ears. In this case however, we are not talking about a metal band, but about a band that is as heavy sounding and boasts a crushing quality to their music. James Huggett is the American musician who started combat Astronomy. Before that, James was recording electronic music, incorporating noise and industrial styles, which would be incorporated into the sound of Combat Astronomy. Lunik from 2001 is the first release from the band. A limited CD-R release in a DVD box, it was a harsh sounding record with tribal patterns, loops and noise. In 2005 the album, The Dematerialized Passenger, was released. In here James resumed guitar playing, and the foundation of the compositions became the sound for which Combat Astronomy is known for: a rough and granular bass sound around which revolve the rest of the wide range of instrumentation: guitar, electronics, saxophones, clarinet, violin, bassoon and flute with programmed drums. This album was the beginning of the collaboration with Martin Archer, a British multi-instrumentalist and composer. Mick Beck (bassoon; also plays on Dreams No Longer Hesitate) and Charlie Collins (flute) also took part in the recording. In 2008, an expanded lineup released Dreams No Longer Hesitate. From Caveman Shoestore, came Elaine di Falco (vocals, piano), Mike Ward (flute, bass flute), Myrrhia Resneck (baritone saxophone) and the aforementioned Martin Archer and Mick Beck. The live band has had several lineups, which can be seen on the band's myspace page.

Coming back to the crushing matter, this is evident from the very start of the album. Be prepared to play with the bass knob on your system. The music doesn't wait for any introduction; it just goes straightforward and immediately punches its way through your ear canals. Aside from the layers of instrumentation here, there are wonderful noises added to the mix that makes the music creepy and eerie. Listen to this album late at night in the dark, and you've got yourself a recipe for nightmares. Elaine's voice goes perfectly hand in hand with the spooky and bizarre sound of the music; her voice is determined and yet soft in a way and thus complementing the aggressiveness of the music in its most ferocious parts and also its more dreamy segments (which are as powerful, such as in Touch The Moon). The music, taking as much from fusion and zeuhl as it does from rock and metal, is an amalgam of styles, combined very well into one cohesive approach. It is not, however, an endless series of sonic blows to the head. There are moments where it ponders, where it seems to expand horizontally and not only move forward unmercifully. At times this may even remind of shoegaze-styled bands with the slower pace and with a hypnotic endless sound or repetitive sequence. Perhaps the most crushing part here is I Can't Breath. The bass will sound as if it's about to come out of the speakers and break everything in its path. If ever a song gave the exact impression of its title, this is it. The repetitive extremely heavy pounding is a fascinating musical rendering of suffocation (whether mentally or physically). As the song moves on, the drumming gives a highly rhythmic pattern and Elaine's vocals are played with to overlap and thus creating a weird otherworldly sound, with a hypnotic characteristic. This is high-energy shoegaze music. In Alive Inside Eternity, there is wonderful free-jazz saxophone playing with wonderful weird sounding ornaments by the flute and the familiar hyperactive rhythmic drive and dominant (or rather ruling) bass. As the music progresses, it becomes more and more intense, faster and roams unapologetically throughout. It gets more and more insane by the minute, more powerful. The repetitive nature can give an impression of a dark and malevolent ritual going on. This is brutal music.

I think you get the idea by now, right? While upon initial listening it might sound all the same and the songs a repetition of themselves, repeated concentrated listening is required. The nuances and individuality of each song and composition will then be revealed and will allow for a greater satisfying listen. I for one highly enjoy this album and recommend getting the previous one, The Dematerialized Passenger, as well. Highly recommended for those looking for dark and eerie avant-rock, with elements of doom-metal, shoegaze, fusion and zeuhl; for fans of Magma, The Red Masque (especially Fossil Eyes) and Sunn O))).

avestin | 4/5 |

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