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Knifeworld - Clairvoyant Fortnight CD (album) cover



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The Hemulen
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The shift from solo "studio project" to a fully-fledged band has done the world of good to Knifeworld. Kavus Torabi's songwriting has hardly been in doubt, ever since his Monsoon Bassoon days, but the addition of permanent band members has really helped to solidify Knifeworld's sound, (crunchy riffs, psychedelic washes of synth and keys and gratifyingly prominent bassoon being particular hallmarks), and push his songwriting to new and giddy heights.

Torabi has never been shy or secretive about his influences, and the keen-eared well-versed prog fan will doubtless catch sonic glimpses of Magma, Henry Cow, King Crimson, Cardiacs, The Muffins and a hundred other bands besides, but this EP more than anything that's come before it, makes it abundantly clear that the only band Knifeworld really sounds like is Knifeworld.

Yes, Kavus and co. are reaching back into the murky depths of prog and psychedelia's past but not in order to copy wholeslae a particular band or style of music - the influences manifest as flourishes, nods and winks and a vague fuzzy vibe. For all their unashamed then-ness, there's something defiantly NOW about Knifeworld. These three songs are brimming over with passion, urgency and a flurry of ideas, each tumbling over and into the next in a mad rush to overwhelm your mind and transport you on some mad, psychedelic journey, with or without any chemical aid.

And deep within that seething, bubbling melting pot of musical ideas lurk hooks and melodies so insidiously catchy that you'll be humming them for months. What might seem baffling and overwhelming on first listen quickly opens out into some of the most joyful, life-affirming, powerful and intense music you're likely to hear this or any other year.

They came very very close with last year's "Dear Lord, No Deal" EP, but with "Clairvoyant Fortnight" it seems Knifeworld have finally come of age.

Report this review (#772822)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars A little something to tide us over.

Knifeworld from the start, which for me was the Buried Alone: Tales Of Crushing Defeat, was a band I was going to be keeping an eye on. I was ready already for the next album, but this is the second intermediate EP and the better of the two, but not by too much.

I may be repeating myself but it's like the spirit of Gentle Giant in their prime had been floating around in space and landed on the Knifeworld.

So, when I found out there was streaming about for the main track of this EP, I was clicking around and accidentally launched two instances out of sync. I was thinking hmm. I don't know if I really like this as much. Fortunately about a minute in I realized what I had done, oops. It doesn't really lend itself too well to being listened to in that fashion. May have been summoning up evil spirits or something. Well, there's a video for this and once again, if only MTV still played videos?"I may have to borrow your tarot tomorrow." Not sure if I've entirely figured out what this song is about. I am certain it's about five minutes and twenty eight seconds.

In A Foreign Way, nice and bouncy. Video available for this one but not as fancy as the first.

The Prime Of Our Decline is the icing on this cupcake. Deliciously complex, if any track will convince you to keep an eye on these guys and gals, none will. A wild seven and a half minute ride.

A full length album is in the works. I'll be there.

Report this review (#776874)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars It seems to me Knifeworld doesn't make a lot of effort in producing quality music when releasing EPs. Their sole album from 2009 is no doubt about it, a wild beast, full of heavy crunchy guitars and a good dose of avant tendencies, what mainly separates it from the EPs is simply the level of songwriting. Although in general the "Clairvoyant Fortnight" EP have received positive reviews, I don't share the enthusiasm, I hope it doesn't mean the band have ran out of unique ideas, like the ones presented on the album. The core of the band has still remained intact, while various musicians contribute to each release, Kavus Torabi (Yes, the Cardiacs guitarist since 2003) is in charge and plays a handful of instruments aside from the guitar, the amazing Khyam Allami on the drums, Melanie Woods on "little girl's vocals" and Sarah Measures here credited only for Flute but usually plays more.

Knifeworld's music is a good combination between Cardiacs and some Gentle Giant, although less punkish but still holds a lot of characteristics from Cardiacs like humor, weirdness and knife sharp "out of the box" music arrangements. The addition of other instruments like sax, trumpet and flute is what makes this band so interesting and exciting, and this is the element that makes them close to GG and King Crimson. This time the songs seems to be a little more cheerful and brighter than on their debut, this is mainly due to Melanie's little girl's chants and the occasionally lighter sound. The arrangements are still busy and complex, but it's not complexity all the time like with progressive metal, it's more in the vein of modern art rock.

Overall this release is definitely less interesting than what they had to offer on their debut, first of all the songs are less heavy which in this case in my opinion takes the punch away, the songs are passing me by without leaving the impression I got from the album, they are not bad in any way and some moments are very very good, but overall this is fairly mediocare by Knifeworld standards. Out of the three songs here, "The Prime of our Decline" is the highlight with a good intro building up to a good Zappa meets KC saxophone riff, great sound which also returns in the end of the song including a bassoon, with a different riff and some cool interplay evoking the debuts high level of creativity with complex and tight arrangements, I love it.

"Buried Alone - Tales Of Crushing Defeat" is the name of their album and it's definitely the one to get if you're interested to check this wonderful band. The "Clairvoyant Fortnight" EP is good but doesn't even come close to any of the songs appearing on their debut. I'm still a huge fan and I can't wait for a second album. 3 stars is what it is.

Report this review (#1024608)
Posted Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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