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Herd Of Instinct - Conjure CD (album) cover

CONJURE

Herd Of Instinct

 

Eclectic Prog

3.86 | 97 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Vibrationbaby
5 stars There is nothing routine happening on this jewel. Conjure crosses fine red musical lines as the surreal cover concept implies and the listener is never ready for where or when each composition is going to decide to end. Certainly nothing verse / chorus / verse about this Frankenstein. Dark mysterious forces lurk on this spooky instrumental whose themes and inspirations form sonic images of everything from a Swedish gothic horror movie ( Vargtimmen ) to delving into the supernatural qualities of fire ( The Secret of Fire ). The foreboding blackness of night ( Mother Night ) is explored with Crimsonian mellotron backdrops and gothic synth harmonies which contrast with more soothing overtones that paint a terrible yet sublime portrait of this fascinating time of day when everything that lives seems to undergo enigmatic transformations. The opening track, Praxis seems to draw some cues from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells intro that was used in The Exorcist horror film which sets the mood for the rest of the album,a precursory for the rest of the work which takes the listener through a mind trip of abstruse fluctuating ideas and moods.

Stylistically Conjure is a hybrid beyond category assimulating eclectic interpretations of electronic, ambient, metal, eastern stylings with tinges of psychedelia and traditional jazz and at times even sounding like a dreamy new age soundscape. Like any cutting edge musical exploration Conjure can take you to many places in relatively short time periods using many different musical devices such as reverse reverb, loops and the use of unexpected instruments such as the trumpet and flute on the smoky Alice Krige pt.1 with it's cool hypnotic electro beats. The meticulously constructed pieces also give the listener the illusion of missing time. I was surprised to find that only 53 minutes had elapsed after the first listen and thought the clock was playing with my head and even then I didn't want the album to end! It is one of those first listens that leaves you aghast, saying to yourself : this I gotta freaking hear again man! It is definitely music for the future while maintaining a conspicuous mystical future/primitive aura throughout. The masterful employment of the Mark Cook's low action Waar guitar and fretless bass lines of Colin Edwin ( from Porcupine Tree ) lend an overall visceral feel and provides a common denominator that fuses the individual compositions together. And when Gayle Ellett's angry synths enter into the fray a legendary sound is created. He audaciously integrates the rather antiquated moog, mellotron, Hammond Organ and Fender Rhodes piano with cutting edge recording technology which make them sound like novel inventions of the 21st century. Conjure might be sporadically compared to King Crimson's later work as well as some of Bill Bruford's solo work ( think : One of a Kind ) but the overall aftereffect emanates from the creative recesses of the individual players that meld as one single entity that give Conjure it's magical preeminence. Despite their intrinsical differences, the 12 tracks each live up to their namesakes and manage to create their own visions within themselves. Even if they are subiect to abrupt mood swings at times the compositions still maintain an individual musical intellection, and though Conjure is not a concept album per se, the result is a circumscribed harmony. I got the impression that the music was actually some phantasmagoric living entity. Solitude One ( my fave ), which also demonstrates the group's ability to adapt to another composer's intentions, reflects this impression magnificently. There is so much happening in this integration of middle eastern / east Indian rhythms and charms with western technologies. The coda simply numbs the mind. While I am not familiar with composer Lisa Lazo she must have arrived from some other dimension of time and space that I don't know about yet. The employment of the traditional bowed dilruba alongside modern guitar loops/synths and keyboards and programmed tabla-like percussion is a perfect marriage that defines the delicate future / primitive intricacy of the music found on Cojure.

Dark & moody as it is, Conjure is a mysterious creature of depthless substance that definitely beckons the headphones. Conjure is not an album to be listened to from across the room or while tinkering with your 1966 Pontiac GTO project car. It requires fully focused, attentive ears or you miss out on subtlties that colour the album. Whether it be the sublime Alice Krige pt. 1 or the furious Dead Leaf Echo with it's poignant intro and Sabbath-like riffing before grinding to a halt. The barrage of changes and suprises on Conjure are not unlike what was being unleashed by Gentle Giant in the early seventies with their incongruous renderings and unresolved musical inversions. The very Crimsonian, conflagrated Brutality of Fact aptly demonstrates this with Mike Davidson's Frippish guitar lines that are constantly persecuted by Gayle Ellett's relentless synths. Conjure is not all that doomy and gloomy though. Upon the arrival of track 10, the evocative New Lands, a sweeping folky tone emerges which is evocative of a quest for discovery. It comes as close to mainstream affections that you're going to hear on the album complete with an almost conventional guitar solo at the conclusion which consolidates and gives the piece a conquering finality.

This is no garden-variety contemporary instrumental album. No showboating here, just solid musicianship and compositional structure. This is one of the most together instrumental groups that I've heard in a long while, tight rhythms, complex musical phrasings and complete disregard for convention. I'll be listening to this baby when I'm in my eighties for sure.

Vibrationbaby | 5/5 |

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