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Karmamoi - The Day Is Done CD (album) cover

THE DAY IS DONE

Karmamoi

Heavy Prog


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Windhawk
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Italian band KARMAMOI was formed in 2008 in Italy, initially a 5 man strong venture but for the last few years reduced to a core of two permanent members - at least as far as studio activities are concerned. "The Day Is Done" is the third fourth production by the band, featuring cure duo of permanent members and quite a few additional musicians that was required for recording purposes. The album was released through UK label Sonicbond at the tail end of the fall season in 2018.

Karmamoi is a band growing in stature and popularity, and if they continue to create albums such as "The Day Is Done" that is a development that will continue. Existing somewhere inside the quadrant of Pink Floyd, Airbag, No-Man and Porcupine Tree, they create accessible, modern and controlled progressive rock. Personally I'd suggest fans of Porcupine Tree in particular to give this album a spin. It is different, but I rather suspect that the many familiar sounding elements Karmamoi brings to their table will come across as both familiar and compelling for many fans of Porcupine Tree in particular.

Report this review (#2078850)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
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Honorary Reviewer
4 stars At the time of their last album, 2016's 'Silence Between Sounds', the band had been reduced to a trio with guests, but now they are down to just the duo of Daniele Giovannoni (drums, keyboards and backing vocals) and Alex Massari (guitars and backing vocals) as bassist Alessandro Cefalý is also now listed as a guest and only plays on four songs. Strangely, all vocals are by Sara Rinaldi who also provides the lyrics, but she is not listed as being a member of the band. It is safe to say that I haven't been the biggest fan of this band in the past, viewing their last two albums as solid and okay but not incredibly interesting, but that is no longer the case as I have found myself playing this a great deal indeed. Interestingly, this a concept album, but not the normal subject matter one may expect. When the tragedy which was the Grenfell Tower fire took place on 14th June 2017 the writing of the album was already well advanced. 89 people died in the burning of that London skyscraper and among the many stories, we were deeply struck by that of two Syrian boys, Omar and Mohammed, who fled from Syria in the war, finding refuge and a new life in Britain. Mohammed died in the fire and his brother was unable to help him.

Daniele Giovannioni continues: "This typified my feeling of discomfort with the world. Many of us humans are on the run and living in fear of not being accepted. The two Syrian boys typified this feeling of unease. The terror in the eyes of the survivors of the fire was the same as that of the survivors of a bombing or an attack. Certainly, those who suffer a such a bombing know that it is possible there will be another, while those who are victims of a fires can hope that such a thing will never to be repeated, but the desire to escape is the same for everyone."

Again, there are plenty of guests involved, most notably Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and Geoff Leigh (Steven Wilson, Ex-Wise Heads), but this album works best when it is at its most simple, gentle atmospheric piano combined with ethereal vocals. The production is superb, while the use fretless bass adds additional dynamics. This definitely feels like a band as opposed to a few musicians being thrown together for the occasion. At times incredibly Floydian, others more like Camel, what makes this album work so well is the sense of drama and the way the music moves and flows from one style to another. I wasn't a fan of Sara's vocals on the last album, but here she is a perfect fit with the music, and in many ways, this feels to me like a totally different band to what I had reviewed in the past.

There has been major step change in all directions, and the result is an album that is full of passion, thought, hooks and drive which keeps the listener involved engaged. That they can change from simplicity to complexity, quiet solitude to rock band, totally confident in throwing out rock guitar shapes and solos or keeping it tied down, shows just how far they have come in such a short time. Well worth investigating.

Report this review (#2110347)
Posted Saturday, December 22, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Interesting new Italian prog".

When Karmamoi was working on its new album The Day Is Gone the band witnessed the horror of the Grenfell Tower on television (June 14th, 2017), this had a huge impact on them. After reading the heartbreaking story about the Syrian brothers Mohammed and Omar (they fled from Syria, had a safe home in London but Mohammed died in the Grenfell Tower disaster) the band decided to pay tribute with a concept album, featuring guest musicians singer Sara Rinaldi, Colin Edwin on bass (Porcupine Tree) and Geoff Leigh on flute (Steven Wilson).

Many tracks on this album alternate between atmospheric, dreamy and slow rhythms, coloured by the voice of Sara Rinaldi. I consider this mellow and dark music (reminding me of early Roger Waters solo) as a musical translation of the feelings of emptiness, sorrow, depression and grief after the Grenfell Tower disaster, for the brothers it was from one hell to another! The bombastic outbursts with moving guitar work sound like desperate cries, this adds a more dynamic dimension to the music. The first song (the titletrack) is a good example. It starts dreamy featuring twanging guitar, melancholical female vocals and piano, halfway a bit wailing flute. In the final part a powerful guitar solo with howling runs, in a bombastic outburst, very compelling, expressing the huge fear and despair in the inferno. And also in the instrumental track Getaway. First an intro with dreamy piano and atmospheric sounds, then a slow rhythm and gradually a more bombastic climate with moving, powerful electric guitar. Next the music returns to atmospheric but gradually culminates in a sumptuous outburst delivering a powerful electric guitar solo with again howling runs, this is topped with a subtle choir sound (I asked the band about this: it is a blend of Sara her voice and ethnic vox samples).

Some songs feature more dynamics and more tension, like in the alternating Portrait Of A Man with wonderful work on guitar (strong echoes from David Gilmour) and keyboards. And in Your Name. First a tight and catchy beat with powerful vocals and fiery electric guitar, gradually turning into more bombastic with lush keyboards. Halfway dreamy and atmospheric with fragile piano runs, soft bass and sensitive electric guitar and emotional female vocals. And finally another wonderful, often howling guitar solo , what a compelling music (Pink Floyd but also Camel come to my mind). In the track Take Me Home Geoff Leigh (Steven Wilson) shines with a swirling flute solo.

My highlight is Mother's Dirge, a long and captivating composition, close to 11 minutes. First a catchy beat, a raw guitar solo, then dreamy with twanging guitar and melancholical vocals. The music turns into a slow rhythm and more bombastic, with a sensitive electric guitar solo and a wonderful choir sound. Next dreamy with piano and vocals, suddenly a bombastic eruption with an ominous atmosphere and impressive words: '80 eyes have seen their end, that cruel damned night the fire swelled, 80 mouths have cried unheard, that cruel damned night the fire swelled, 80 hands have raised uncatched, that cruel damned night the fire swelled, 80 feets have run to death, that cruel damned night the fire swelled'. To me it evokes a tension and excitement that reminds me of The Wall by Pink Floyd. This part is followed by a slow rhythm and propulsive guitar riffs, embellished with a flashy synthesizer solo. Then melancholical vocals, and in the end a sensitive electric guitar solo, accompanied by a dynamic rhythm-section. This epic track is Karmakoi in its full splendor!

The final composition is the short and instrumental Lost Voices, very atmospheric (including ambulances sirens), close to ambient electronic, strongly contrasting with the dynamic previous composition. To me it sounds like a requiem, as a tribute to the victims.

Tasteful and elaborate compositions, a captivating balance between skills and emotions, this is an album to discover!

This review was recently published in a slightly different version on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

Report this review (#2204268)
Posted Monday, May 20, 2019 | Review Permalink

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