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Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Of Natural History CD (album) cover

OF NATURAL HISTORY

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.11 | 201 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ShW1
5 stars For anyone wondering if there is any good progressive rock after the 70s prog, this is an album for you. This album continue the spirit of the old prog without duplicate it. The envelope here is prog metal, but inside it is much more diverse. There are many more elements and styles, such as stylistic kitsch, quieter and calmer moments, home made instruments, field recordings such as flies, bees etc, which can be heard between the tracks and at the end of the album, and a lot of percussions. The music is excellent, innovative, creative and original, without being a true avant guard (IMO). Catchy melodies, complex harmonies, a-symmetric rhythms, and interesting developments. And all these happens over 70 minuets, without one dull moment.

The main musicians here are: Dan Rathbun, who played bass and another instruments, produced, recorded, and build all those amazing homemade instruments, I wonder if there is something he couldn't do. Another member is Carla Kihlstedt who has a great feminine presence. She is a real artist, played violin, in addition to other instruments, sang, and also took part at the field recordings. Her singing style is influenced by BJORK style, and not in the "nice" and quite oldie style we used to at progressive rock when the vocalist is a woman. The main, great vocalist here is Nils Frykdahl. His singing style is very powerfull most of the time, at the heavy metal style, but still sounds very unique, and he sings very well at the calmer moments, also.

The concept here is complicated, and generally discuss about the futurists, an artistic movement from the early years of 20 century, who admired technologies and was against preservation of the past. The unabomber present the oposite ideas: Against technologies and for returning to simple life as in past. Both of them are violent, but in fact the unabomber is much more violent since he actually murdered people for his ideas. Most of the songs deal with animals and their relation with humanity. We have here donkey, cicada, cockroach and more. in fact there are much more details about the concept which I don't know well and wont discuss here. But I have some details about the cicada:

The cicada is an insect who has 17 years circle of life. Most of the time they stay under earth as pupa and in the 17 year they get out as insects, fertillise and dies. There is a theory that the circle life is a prime numebr (17) because in that way they can avoid meeting with parasites, who has also life circles. (it is explained in more details at the book "The last theorem of Ferma" by Simon Singh). the illustration for the cicada here is a short piece of one repeated motif in complex rhythm, in 10/8 time signature, played with an interesting tuned percussion homemade instrument. another percussions, some of them tuned, play over it, and a violin and a flute who played notes in a very high register, which create an interesting effect, along with the field effects that goes on throw the whole piece. I tried to find here something concerned with 17 but didn't succeed. Anyway it sound suitable, complexity rhythmical and interesting. This is just one example to show the diverse and uniqueness of this album.

In particular, I think that anyone who looks for today innovative, original music, should look for the american music that comes from the west, such as Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Thinking Plague, Hamster theatre, and others. These people are really doing something good to progressive rock and art rock of today.

ShW1 | 5/5 |

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