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Colster - Colster CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 5 ratings

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4 stars Soaring instrumental rock of many flavors

Colster is a new project from Cuneo, Italy, the collaboration of multi-instrumentalist Livio Cravero and percussionist/drummer Francesco Previotto. Their impressive debut album has been released on Ma.Ra.Cash Records and features compositions the duo wrote over the past two years. During this time they were traveling in Europe, America, and Asia, engaging another interest in photography that they have integrated into the Colster project. They sought to create instrumental music which would express their life experiences while at the same time be accessible and conducive to mental imagery for the listener. While I have read some reviews which mentioned Pink Floyd and King Crimson in their discussion, in my opinion this is music which sails closer to modern psych/space-tinged jamming with Djam Karet and Ozric Tentacles flavorings. I would say Colster is a bit more accessible than those bands even, creating an almost instantly appreciated rock jam with psychedelic influences but far from anything seriously weird or dissonant. This is a classy and interesting new act that will make some waves, and a second album is already planned.

The most overt Crimson sounds I heard were on the opening track "Searching Absolution pt 1" which reminded me of the 80s project "I Advanced Masked" that Fripp did with Andy Summers of The Police. I have no idea how long Livio and Francesco have been friends or how long they've been jamming together but they have a good interplay, and are musically supportive of each other. While not overly flasher exhibitionists they possess a certain confident swagger in their active playing styles. Cravero is a tight guitarist with a graceful, fluid lead style, able to pick off notes that seem to fill those emotional holes in the listener. Previotto is a similarly adept drummer, adventurous and yet solid, willing to try some fills and rhythms which are not always expected. Their interplay is spirited, warm, and most importantly, filled with color.

The mood of the music for me was especially effective as a driving soundtrack in the dark of night. I was driving home late last Friday night from someone's house. It was warm and humid outside and the thick air was creating a slight halo effect around the bright lights of oncoming cars on the freeway. The track "Meloncholy" came up next and the lovely introspective music created a very effective moment: the bright guitar mixing with the headlights cutting through the night, the movement of the cars around me, and the warm breeze coming through the window made for magical listening. "The First Wail" was the first Colster composition and it breathes moodiness with gorgeous, spacious chords and leads. Cool, rolling drumming segments and generous fills in the latter half of "Everyday Life." The latter moments remind me a bit of Porcupine Tree here and there, nice spaciness and good interplay. "Island Asylum" sounds like some mellotron behind strange environmental sound, soaring guitars, crisp drums, in a track focusing on the pleasure of the refuge. Where one goes to "lick his wounds" and find some peace from distraction and stress, according to the band liner notes. The second part of the three part "Searching Absolution" begins with an energetic drum solo leading into murky sounds reminiscent for me of Djam Karet explorations. Amazing "lead" drumming on this track as Previotto explodes with bombast-great! "See through the Tears" brings the album to a close through the "tears of the world" and more introspective moods, with a somewhat melancholic melody and a very independent bass line bubbling below the song's surface.

Colster succeeds at what I believe are one of their intentions, creating a sort of soundtrack for the thoughts and images of the listener, music that moves with you as you live. And yet it is important to reiterate that their succinct style is a strength. They improvise and dream musically of course, they take you places, but they keep the pieces reasonably brief and well paced, stretching the length out only as necessary. There is no overindulgence here where you are tortured by 16 minutes of feedback over breaking glass and barking dogs. Colster brings a lighter edge to psych/space and are capable of crossover should they choose to go there. At times there are even hints of fusion that creep in reminding me of the superb AIIR jam band. My only real criticism is the same one I often have about bands which are one or two man projects. No matter how capable the musician or musicians, I can always detect that I am not listening to a full band. I believe having 3 or 4 distinct personalities in a project comes through in the sound, and that the added ideas and contributions can prevent an album's worth of music from sounding too similar. But while I would suggest Colster collaborate with others on at least some tracks on future albums, I can also say that my enjoyment was not truly hindered in this case---this is a fine album which I very much enjoyed. The digi-pak comes with a booklet of lovely artwork and song inspiration notes about various tracks, a nice and intimate touch to include.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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