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Simon Steensland - Fat Again CD (album) cover


Simon Steensland



4.11 | 30 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Overview

Fat Again by Simon Steensland was one of my first RIO/Avant prog albums, and to date, I still haven't heard anything else that sounds quite like it. The players on this album play their instruments in a way that is truly fascinating to me, and it is worth many spins just to hear the unique playing of all the musicians who have gathered around Simon Steensland for this recording (including Einar Baldursson, who, as John mentioned in his review already, is also a member of Gosta Berlings Saga, another excellent band from the modern era).

The album is comprised, with two types of songs. There are the "epic" lengthier tracks, including the opener (Der Klang Von "Musik", clocking in at 16 minutes) the closer (The Lion Tamer, clocking in at 20), and Hide and Seek (8 minutes). Then their are the pieces that sound, to my ear, like little pieces of candy - short but sweet - only in this case, the candy also has a bit if sour added to it for additional flavour.

The Music

Der Klang Von "Musik" (which translates to The Sound of "Music") is, at this point, my favorite track off of the album and an excellent way to open up the album. Throughout it's 16 minutes, it shifts mood and texture multiple times, starting with an off-kilter beat, switching to a more spaced out section, using light electric guitars, thick bass, and woodwinds. From here, it builds into something a bit more electric, eventually adding very, very heavy guitars. This is not even seven minutes in, and over the nine minutes of the song that remain, it continues to twist and turn, inundating your ears with excellent music the entire time.

Next, the album gives us four "treat" tracks, the short Lost In The Ark, Merde!, Memories of Jan Josta, and Loch Ness (ranging from 0:25-2:27). The sound of these tracks ranges, from sung vocals (Lost in the Ark) to simply layered, odd-sounding wordless vocals (Merde!), to instrumental tracks (Memories of Jan Josta and Loch Ness). Loch Ness in particular, which features xylophone, lots of space, and airy backing instrumentation, is a fascinating track.

Just past the halfway point, we are introduced to "Hide and Seek", a song that is built up on top of a pattern, with various instruments playing with or against the main beat of the song, which is started once again by those haunting female vocals. The song tends to be quite hypnotic throughout it's run and is yet another of my favorite tracks off this album.

The next three tracks are the last of the short tracks, including my favorite short track and the one that got me interested in this album, "The Queen of Sweden". Xylophone (I think) plays odd tone runs while the rest of the song builds up underneath, becoming quite an appealing track, and unlike anything else I have heard in my experience to this point.

The Lion Tamer starts with a fun little drum beat before building up. In the end, it does sort of settle on a basic beat, relying more on slow build-up and subtle changes than the opener. In this sense, the Lion Tamer is a more chilled out song, and an apt way to close the album.


Visually, the album is quite interesting. There is, of course, the amusing cover art, but more amusing to me is the image imprinted on the CD, of Spiderman in the mountains wearing a baret and carrying a case of beer and a guitar. Perhaps this is Simon's creative process - dress a Spiderman, hide in nature, drink beer and jam?

TheGazzardian | 5/5 |


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