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Ithaca - A Game For All Who Know CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.83 | 30 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A quite terrible William Blake adaptation strikes us first, as we allow this album our observance. It does not reflect the cozy beatnik orientations of the music concealed within the covers very well, but the image possibly gives a hint of these musicians' conceptual idea of the record as a personal mystic vision from surrounding world, in vein of the master referred on the album cover. The songs of these visionary sights are sung forth by the union of male and female voices. "A Game for All Who Know" seems to travel a journey of inner experiences of common man, reacting to the realities of outer world, rising questions for wondering the confronted ages, and the evoked emotions and dreams. I felt the "game" being riddles about universal common issues which we all share, but which we often regard with different ways, some not paying any though to them, possibly left out from the concept of "who know". These contemplations embody musically as mostly melancholic, sometimes naïve happy feelings on the tonal frame of experimental folk pop, sounding like been recorded rather in year 1967 than 1973. This characteristics didn't bother my listening experience, actually I appreciate that the musicians have focused sincerely to their style developed from earlier projects, and do not aim to adjust their expression methods by demands of the moment's fashion.

The journey is set forth with recorded effects, which are installed to the narrative flow of songs in charmingly clumsy way. The album is encircled by the "journey" epochs, the subtitles suggesting to infinite cycles of birth and death as parts of life's patterns. Joe's voice is quite soft, matching well with both beautiful guitar chord studies and tone of Lee's voice appearing later on the record. The lyrics drill from larger perspective to the human scale of witnessing events, staying still on the mysterious pleasant straits, whilst the aural symbol of destruction fatalistically keeps rolling on steady intervals behind the music.

"Questions" are set on a lovely ballad, which presents Lee Menelaus's soft voice and short visitations of Andrew Lowcock's adorable flute lines. Piano and Mellotron's conjure lovely psychedelic flavor for this interestingly meandering composition, growings as the most brilliantly shining jewel on this record, even when listened outside the thematic album entity. The next vision on time starts from slightly boring acoustic ponderings of seven seasons, leading to a more rejoicing Beatlesque sunshine pop path towards the merciless facts related to the given time for two people's union of love, their bond on time's duration and its position in the universal infinity. Nearly baroque starting maneuvers of "Feelings" are then brutally countered away, giving space for bit duller acoustic guitar rant, and starting a longer boring sequence on the whole record. Maybe the keyword missing mostly on this potentially fine album are crystallized to the song's title; In excess of wonderful second song, closing epic, and a few occasional motives the overall emotions of the record do not reach the heights it yearns. There are though very amusing confusing changes in the compositions, this song also fades from the run as more cheerful primitive acoustic pop song in very surprisingly ways. In addition of poorer tracks of Moody Blues, I felt some resemblances to late 1960's UK Nirvana's sounds also on these tracks.

The "Dream" sequence reprises melodies from "The Path" movement of "Times", lyrics being here quite interesting, giving more concrete hints for decoding the album's metaphorical meaning. The second "journey" song closes the circle of love's mystery, skimming with humorously underlined sounds of turningn the pages of ye booke of songes. Whilst reading, the spirit of the ages is also searched from the radio waves, catching glimpses of Isaac Albéniz's Asturias guitar transcriptions and space rocket launching transmissions. The return to the melodic motive allows lovely Lee to draw together the questions processed on the record by her fragile voice, developing the musical themes as quite dramatic symphonic variations, and managing to elevate the impact of this concept record with the last moments much higher than one might have been expect from the tracks building up this enigmatic "A Game for All Who Know". Sadly due some phlegmatic filler tracks this album does not redeem totally the promises flickering from the talent and imagination of the musicians. But however I consider the album quite loveable, especially from CD it is easier to skip the duller moments and focus only to the highlights of this record, and escape the wrath of bankrupting from costs of small copy volumes of the original vinyl. I would recommend this record for the adorers of 1960's artistic folk music and those interested of more obscure hippie albums.

Eetu Pellonpaa | 3/5 |


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