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Burnt Belief - Burnt Belief CD (album) cover


Burnt Belief


Crossover Prog

4.07 | 68 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

I am proud to be among the first reviewers to do this masterpiece justice as PA took its sweet time getting these 2 lads included and I have been salivating at the prospect of discussing this album's merit with the prog community. So let me get to the straight and narrow, Burnt Belief is a complete stunner that will blow your feeble mind to smithereens. Colin Edwin needs no introduction, having knowledgeably manned the bass spotlight with powerhouse Porcupine Tree, a true disciple of recently departed fretless bass genius Mick Karn. He brings his famous beret and his legendary smirk with him on this glorious sonic voyage where his bass is up front and center, driving the mood and the pace. Jon Durant was unknown to me previously but not after a dozen or so spins of this colossus. He seems to be closer in style to Dave Torn or Michael Brook in proposing a multitude of tonal techniques with massive abilities in setting emotional ornaments to the arrangements. This is not an aggressive album at all, quite soporific in fact, preferring to address the subtlety of assorted sounds and their judicious placement among the pleasure nodes of the modern ear. Lush yet minimalist, a strange harmonious contradiction that works wonders on the mind. This is experimental prog at its apex, a surreal recording that has a different appeal according to the time of day or the mood the listener might be temporarily in. The tracks are complex yet simple, challenging albeit accessible and that, proggers and progettes, is a rare achievement!

From the opening thrill of "Altitude", especially if you let yourself be guided by that maddening bass rumble, the luxuriant atmospheres are intoxicating to the utmost. Highly cinematographic, the tortuous bass carves masterfully deep and majestic furrows, flute ornamentation providing sensuality along with a tragic violin. There are times when they veer into transcendental space rock, suddenly becoming ambient but in a most melodious fashion like on the stellar "Impossible Senses", which perhaps suggests a clever appreciation for Phil Manzanera's critical track "Impossible Guitar" off the "Primitive Guitars" album. What a whopping melody though! Edwin does a lovely job on the 4 string monster, very close in style to both Karn and fretless guru Percy Jones but its Durant that steals the show with a memorable series of guitar melodies. The percussion work is intricate and stimulating. This is a classic track that will stand the test of time and has become an immediate addition to my main playlist. Sexy ladies beware, this is very sensually inspiring. "Prism" has a different feel altogether, a shorter piece that exudes more ambient formulas that quantify the experimental tag of the disc, an ominous mixture of sonic mechanics and lavish jungle soundscapes that are spellbinding. "Balthasar's Key" is another 7minute+ bass-led killer track, frosted with urban cool and slithering aural sculptures of steel and glass, a platform for Geoff Leigh to unleash some savage flute runs that serve as a foil to Durant's darker side, sounding more like Fripp or Manzanera. There is a slight Middle Eastern vibe mostly due to the caravanserai of percussives and the cobra-like flute, evoking images of shifting dunes and palm trees caught in a "haboob" (sandstorm). "Coiled" is the epic centerpiece, a 12 minute rant that kicks off sweet and gentle, slowly transforming into a swirl of sonic meditation, where a surprisingly forlorn piano takes the lead. The mood progresses inexorably like a reptile in defiance mode, interspersed with pagoda tones and a intoxicating Great Wall of China sound. Edwin's "slowhand" style pushes hard on the strings, adding dramatic effect and purpose to the flow. Towards the end, Durant finally "uncoils" his solo, fitting nicely into the groove. "Semazen" has, as the title may imply, a Zen feel, being another meditative selection that winks curtly at Oriental traditions, experimental once again in a more hypnotic sense perhaps. Edwin does a playful tweak on the senses, slick little bass licks combining with Jon' searing touch guitar phrasings. "The Weight of Gravity" creeps along insidiously, slow and gentle, sentimental until Durant explodes with astringent notes closer to maestro Robert Fripp's severe noodling , pitter-patter percussion and the burden of Newton on the spirit, emanating from the 4 stringed gurgling beast. "Arcing Towards Morning" mercifully outs this beautiful disc to rest, a contemplative reverie that hankers to jazzier horizons, spiritually closer to guru John MacLaughlin on acoustic guitar, twinkling piano heightening the splendor. Of course Edwin provides ethereal low- end, anchoring the spiritual pleasure.

One of 2012's album of the year because of its essential purity, its bold artistic audacity and an unashamed reverence to truly spiritual philosophies. Edwin otherwise stamps his seemingly overlooked talent with the highest marks for creativity and loyalty to the power of the low-end. Ideally, a great late night chill music suggestion. A 4.5 rating for most progfans but if you are a bass fetishist like me, we have to go the full Monty

5 scalded convictions

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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