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Lunatic Soul - Lunatic Soul CD (album) cover


Lunatic Soul


Crossover Prog

4.04 | 349 ratings

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4 stars Well, I got Lunatic Soul II before I got the debut; nattily titled Lunatic Soul I, which only proves that I can still function according to all cardinal points I guess. Mariusz Duda needs no introduction to any of us and his solo project reflects the diversity that most artists aspire to, which proves that his cardinal points are still functioning. Nothing worse than being pigeon- holed in a style and then, like Harry Houdini strapped in an underwater coffin, struggling to be free of the chains, straps and ropes of market demands. There are few mainstream artists that can get away with side projects that diverge wildly from their claim to fame, but in our wonderful world of Prog, the artistic autonomy is encouraged with often brilliant results ( Porcupine Tree/Steve Wilson/Bass Communion/IEM being a good example or The Tangent/Transatlantic/ TFK/ Karmakanik community). The premise behind Lunatic Soul is the emergence of a sonic palette that is way more ethereal than Riverside, full of luxuriant ambiance and forlorn melancholia, introducing instruments that would never fit in the 'harder' mould: Tibetan bells, soporific voices, massive swaths of flute ripplings and mellotron waves and Asian percussives. The tracks sort of bleed into one another as if one long suite, perfect evolution of sound as if motored by some sonic dream. 'The New Beginning 'dives straight into the dark matter of fragile brooding proving that menacing does not have to be harsh and growly. 'Out on a Limb' starts out gently before exploding into a savage thump that suddenly introduces audible and fraught crying (tears), a moment where things get quite agonizing and desperate. Duda has mastered the contrast between lament and exaltation, his hushed voice often downcast but occasionally flashing a glimmer of relief. 'Summerland' is this window of sun, preparing for the epic title track, nearly 7 minutes of aural experimentation with the kalimba , also known as the thumb piano but exploding into a bass rumble that would make Squire blush as the blazing fire of Michal Lapaj's Hammond sweeps emotions in the backcourt , this is seriously fine music. The torment becomes quickly visceral (the organ knows how to perform that task) but Duda's angered vocals evoke the inner rage of his anguished soul to perfection. This is a composer on top of his game. 'Where the Darkness is Deeper' is outright creepy, like an outtake from a horror movie, growling dissonance and echoing pings of menace combine to elicit doom and despair, the mellotron strings and the slippery synths fluttering among the unfathomable valleys of peril. This is perhaps the best track here, totally unexpected but deliciously evil. The amusingly and cleverly titled 'Near Life Experience' is another twist in the paranoia, the acoustic guitar cutting an almost Saharan swath, jangling piano mirages and discordant drums give this a very Avant-jazz feel , the wobbly bass providing the only anchor as Arabic-styled wailing serenades the arrival at the oasis. Weird, man! 'Adrift' is a heartrending ballad that has tinges of ELP's 'C'est La Vie', a gorgeous hymn to loneliness and despair, featuring Quidam's Maciej Meller on e-bow, a thoroughly expressive song with a deep sense of painful resolve. The longest track here is 'The Final Truth', a miraculous vocal from Mariusz that expresses all the pain of a life's existence, the Hammond gently caressing the bubbly drums. The lyrics deal with the human condition, asking what is our existence all about, the unfocused blur between life and death. This is ideal funeral music when you think about it, the perfect sonic backdrop to the unavoidable moment where we all must pass on to the next universe. But the 'why?' needs to be answered first, which is why the finale 'Waiting For the Dawn' takes on such great significance. The Chinese plucked zither (Quzheng) takes us into the Himalayan heights of consciousness, far way from the mundane and regimented routine we call life. As Khalil Gibran wisely stated 'And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb'.

Wow, what a ride this was''. Sad music can be uplifting and inspirational, the 2 albums (I and II) certainly aspire to those lofty heights

4.5 madcap spirits

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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