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Ikarus - Ikarus CD (album) cover

IKARUS

Ikarus

 

Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 35 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Hubris and flight

First of all a big thanks to John (Mellotron Storm) for leading this horse to water. I´d like to start off with a bit of history, although a fair portion of our western society have probably heard this fatal and woeful story of misplaced courage and futility. Many of us know the original tale of Icarus. His father Daedalus had built the enormous labyrinth to hold in the terrifying Minotaur. To keep the world from knowing the inner workings of this massive and enigmatic prison, king Minos kept both Daedalus and Icarus captive on the island of Crete. With no chance of escape, Daedalus again proved his ingenuity and by tying feathers together with wax and thread, he orchestrated their airborne jailbreak. Although the father had warned Icarus of the dangers of flight, the son flew too high and too close to the warmth of the sun - melting his wings of wax, and plummeted to his death in the open ocean.

This album mirrors the flight of Icarus through its music, but also in its message. Oh yes, this is one of those... This German band was obviously out to save the rainforest along with the rest of our natural wonders. You can pick this up in the lyrics, which I personally find to be a bit on the saccharine side. Lines like "Mankind what are you doing, Mankind where are you going" and "Save the nature, because it´s a treasure" - doesn´t exactly approach the lyrical heights of a Gabriel, but somehow the record does not fall flat on it´s face like some drugged out hippy with half a mescaline cactus up the bum. I tune the lyrics out, when I listen to Ikarus, and spend my time listening to the fabulous organ playing, the tight drum-work, the funky bouncy bass and the shifts from angular saxophone runs to delightful flute serenading. Oh yes these guys can play. I often think of The Moodies, even though Ikarus probably is much closer to Raw Material and early Van Damme Generator. I think it has something to do with how the mellotron is used. Though sitting comfortably in the back, you are quite aware of this the progger´s best friend, and on here it has that velvety sound, I often get from a Moodies release. On top of this, the second track features some ethereal backing vocals that instantly makes me think of A Question of Balance. The guy playing flute here isn´t that far from Ray Thomas either, and in my book that is no small feat.

So we´ve got some early English symphonics in play here, such as you´d find in The Moodies and Cressida, but furthermore Ikarus has a distinct psychedelic flavour. The music can be lofty and ethereal - floating on air, for then to grow strange extremities and plunge right into some fuzzed out swampy landscapes. The guitar gets more aggressive and growling - the cymbals starts flying and the sax runs free like a tortured mustang jumping out of its pen. On these high notes the music takes on some fusion like qualities, especially due to the sax or clarinet, and I can quite easily picture myself flying on precarious wax wings under a flaming orange skin sun.

The main focus of this record, although released in Germany under the frivolous and structureless Krautrock regime, is by far the song writing. The passages through soft acoustic guitars and sorrow-filled flute harmonies over to cacophonous and slightly Canterburian jazz sections - feel right and true without any birth complications, and they float by effortlessly like round and elegant soap bubbles. Even when the speedometer is high in the red field, there´s an overwhelming balance between the players.

If you´re into The Least we can do is wave to each other, A Question of Balance, Raw Material or either of those 2 Cressida albums, then you should definitely go get this marvellous record, as it sounds like an unlawful and excruciating beautiful orgy of these artists combined.

It is obvious like an armadillo in high heels, that Ikarus´ sole album compares the way of the civilized world with all its ghastly iron structures, poisonous secretions, chainsaws, bulldozers, greed and throw away culture to the flight of Daedalus´ hubris struck son Icarus. We have flown too close to the sun, and now we must pay the ultimate price. As much as I think this is some hippie nonsense, I often wonder how close to the edge we as a global society can challenge the fragile balances of our ecosystem, and for that this album deserves a bit of credit, although I certainly don´t get this from the lyrics. No, if you want fragility and emotion, that speaks about the wonders of our world - be that the ruby red eye of the mystical viper or the infinite heights of the red wood trees, there is tons upon tons of stirring and soulful music within this release to quench your musical and imaginative thirst.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |

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