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North Sea Radio Orchestra - I a moon CD (album) cover

I A MOON

North Sea Radio Orchestra

 

Prog Folk

4.06 | 60 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

BrufordFreak
5 stars Thank you, progstreaming, for a new lease on hearing new music! Now that I've heard the music of NSRO I must have it! I've been waiting for a rival to my favored KARDA ESTRA, CICCADA, CICADA, IONA, and AFTER CRYING CDs. Even a bit of the POLYPHONIC SPREE feel here, though much more evolved and refined. Chamber music for the folk--though I hear some of the early GENESIS sounds in the piano, synths and vocal harmonies. Unlike KARDA ESTRA, the instruments are far less washed by the floating background of synths and other electronics (thus the POLYPHONIC SPREE reference), and also unlike KA, NSRO's music on this album is more folkie--quirky, off the wall, melodic, upbeat, happy/silly music. At times I'm even reminded of DAVID BYRNE, early IVY, YUGEN, and, of course, THE CARDIACS. Yet, the moods conveyed from song to song can change quite dramatically. "Berliner Luft" is very upbeat and light--like travelling minstrels entering the faire--while it's instrumental follower, "Morpheus Drone," is more late night reflective or mourning, while next, "The Earth Beneath Our Feet," has a very basic GREEN LINNET folk feel to it, while the next, "Ring Moonlets," has a delightful modern/Renaissance feel to it--not quite comparable to GENTLE GIANT, the masters of that ilk, more like Robert Fripp's work with the ROCHES. The next, "When Things Fall Apart," has a delightful multi-layer all-female vocal presentation with only piano accompaniment. Reminds me of the MEDIAEVAL BAEBES, only with more innocence and a more pastoral BENJAMIN BRITTEN/RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS sense.

I quite enjoy this album--a delightfully pleasing find. Overall, the songwriting is outstanding, the vocals quite good (lead female vocalist, Sharron Fortnam, belies comparison--part teen ingenue, part Nicolette Larsen, part JACQUI MACSHEE from THE PENTANGLE). The musical weaves are often KING CRIMSON-like though not unlike those of AFTER CRYING or JAGA JAZZIST. It is such a nice thing to find upbeat progressive music. I look forward to a long association with you, NSRO. Highly recommended to all music/prog lovers.

Added 11/13/11: What a find! Thanks again, progstreaming.com. Surprisingly refreshing, quaint and beautiful avant/chamber compositions of which the vocalized ones are my favorite--but only by a slight bit. This is an overall masterpiece whose music keeps sucking you in, keeps you coming back and continues to unravel its layers of beauty with each and every listen. Definitely one of my five favorites from 2011 (so far)--an amazing year for prog, IMHO.

1. "Morpheus Miracle Worker" (8/10) sounds a bit like one of KATE BUSH's more folk-oriented songs (e.g. "Army Dreamers" or "Night of the Swallow")

2. "I a Moon" (8/10) with its female vocal harmonies and simple acoustic instrumentation, this song reminds me of an upbeat MEDIAEVAL BAEBES song.

3. "Guitar Miniature #3" (6/10) is a cute little folk-cum-classical guitar solo piece. Nothing too remarkable.

4. "Heavy Weather" (10/10) is the album's only piece to feature prominently a male voice in the lead (soon joined by female and later by small chorale of both females and males). Musically it reminds me a lot of Genesis' "A Trick of the Tale" mixed with an old ballad by The Roches ("On the Road to Fairfax County"). Beautiful piece, extraordinary composition, despite being a bit despondent.

5. "Berliner Luft" (9/10) is a cute little instrumental that brings into play a kind of Euro-electro/Krautrock crossed with KRONOS QUARTET kind of feel to it. Sophisticated yet simple, cheery yet with a bit of a kind of Punk edge,

6. "Morpheus Drone" (8/10) begins like a Yo-yo Ma "Silk Road" piece of 'world music' with random rings of odd chimes and hanging percussives soon joined by solo cello--which plays a haunting though rather repetitive melody--Celtic, I believe.

7. "The Earth Beneath Our Feet" (8/10) seems to be a continuation of its predecessor, though melody and instruments change within the first minute (acoustic guitar). Once the vocals join in (1:18) the song takes on a very KATE BUSH feel--the vocal melody straight out of Kate's repertoire and style. While beautiful, the song doesn't really develop into anything very winning or emotional until guitar and strings (cello) team up at the 4:00 mark.

8. "Ring Moonlets" (10/10) is a beautiful little old-new instrumental song la GENTLE GIANT, Windham Hill and THE CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO (and so many others).

9. "When Things Fall Apart" (10/10) is perhaps the most KATE BUSH like song yet on this superb album. Piano and female vocals in harmony sing this song of sorrowful hope, they are later supplanted by a gorgeous string trio, to which the piano is eventually rejoined. So "The Sensual World"!

10. "Mitte der Welt" (9/10) is an instrumental that starts in a quirky KRAFTWERK-way--making the listener almost jump to the player to see if the disc is skipping--before joined by clarinet and kletzmer rhythm section--and later synths and oboe. This little avant gem could be coming from the likes of YUGEN, SKE, or perhaps even UNIVERS ZERO.

Surprisingly refreshing, quaint and beautiful avant/chamber compositions of which the vocalized ones are my favorite--but only by a slight bit. This is an overall masterpiece whose music keeps sucking you in, keeps you coming back and continues to unravel its layers of beauty with each and every listen. Definitely one of my five favorites from 2011 (so far)--an amazing year for prog, IMHO.

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |

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