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Chrysalide - Triptyque CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.20 | 3 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This enigmatic duo recorded an austere trilogy of albums over a four-year period, each of them self-released (through free downloads from their web site), and all three close to identical in technique and presentation. So it only makes sense to follow their good example by likewise providing a trilogy of near-identical reviews: read any one at random, and you'll get the gist of all three albums.

The hermetic style of each release is an acquired taste, to say the least, even to listeners drawn by habit toward challenging music. On paper they don't look so difficult: the instrumentation is disarmingly basic (acoustic guitar, modest bass lines, the occasional cello and/or tambourine, some monophonic vocals). And the compositions are even simpler, at times resembling the liturgical plainsong heard in some cloistered medieval abbey.

But these guys approach the art of making music like penitent monks wearing hairshirts, with every limited chord change punishable by self-excoriation. Heard individually, every song has its own spellbinding charm and mystery. But listening to one entire album, or harder still all three together, can be (borrowing a metaphor from the music itself) a heavy cross to bear.

I have to admire the band's uncompromising aesthetics. Another, astute Prog Collaborator here compared their style to Post Rock, which makes a lot of sense: the music is almost radical in its minimalism. This particular album, the last to be recorded but actually the second in the narrative trilogy, is probably the most accomplished and varied, but these are relative distinctions at best.

The concept too is equally obscure. There's some attractive, monochromatic Christian symbolism in the artwork and song titles, but the overall mood is more spiritual than overtly religious, and thankfully muted by the language barrier (a stray thought: if only NEIL MORSE would show equal restraint in his sledgehammer Prog Rock evangelism). Nevertheless, there's no reason why, with a little editing, the entire trilogy couldn't have been presented on a single CD (or addressed in a single review, like here).

To date the music of Chrysalide has attracted only a handful of intrepid Prog Archive reviewers (mine is the first contribution in well over a year). The free downloads are a welcome act of Christian charity, but the duo probably didn't have much choice: these albums would be a hard sell in any marketplace, cyber or otherwise.

Neu!mann | 2/5 |


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