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North Sea Radio Orchestra - I A Moon CD (album) cover


North Sea Radio Orchestra


Prog Folk

4.21 | 91 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars To paraphrase a classic Seinfeld episode, "you can't just have a little grace, you either have it or you don't". And NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA is the poster child for grace in spades. Luckily their deceptively orchestrated chamber folk is not merely elegant but original, melodic, quirky, varied, and lyrical, among other desirable characteristics. It is all these things yet utterly devoid of artifice or guile.

The album begins with shorter but compelling pieces, introducing the acoustic guitar, orchestra, and analog synths with which the group fashions its singular style. Apart from a certain happy resemblance to KATE BUSH and TERESA DOYLE, they serve as a warm up for the two most progressive and longest tracks, wisely sequenced together: "Heavy Weather" and "Berliner Luft", the first spare, delicate, and harmonious, the second a lively and percussive instrumental which explores an intriguing theme just long enough before moving on to more intricate expressions on winds and strings.

The "Earth Beneath our Feet" begins musically as a hymn before transitioning to a classic 1970s styled singer songwriter feel. CAT STEVENS circa "Mona Bone Jakon" is indeed a more than accurate reference for such profound whimsy, but it is wholly updated and made new again. "Ring Moonlets" is a glistening synthesizer led instrumental with heaps of sprightly acoustic guitar accompaniment. If you like the recent efforts of HOSTSONATEN this could work for you, but to me it is far more magical. "When Things Fall Apart" is another forum for Sharron Fortnam's voice and group dynamics, a gentle piano accompaniment belying a seething emotional release fulfilled in the instrumental back half. The album closes with a minimalist Kraut rock meets Welsh instrumental "Mitte der Welt". That is grace.

If you are seeking a truly original progressive voice in attitude and execution, one minimally suffused with the usual suspect influences yet respectful of them and all that came before, do lend this stunning release your ear. I a Mazed.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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