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5 stars Have already appreciated the t-albums before for their quality. Solipsystemology does a lot more to me. "Again a good complex album" I expected. But Solipsystemology is a small Prog-Sensation! Maybe the most emotional PROG-Album for me and musically one of the best of the last years. Prog often is constructed, but does not really touch ;-)! This is different, ... so authentic that I do not doubt a second of real emotions. This time it works similar, as the "head-cinema" of Gazpacho. Probably because of the many small details (and much more details) and the careful song structure ... and again and again goose bumps. I associate Bowie and Hogarth again, although this music has its own character. There are so many rhythmic subtleties. There are reminiscents of Blackstar ("The End Where We Begin - The End Of Always") and The Cure ("The Trauma Of Happiness - Lifeoscopy"). Everything is so cool that I really like it (as The Cure skeptic). Theatrical and perfectly staged! An over 70 minute masterpiece!
Report this review (#2168710)
Posted Monday, March 25, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just got the newest addition to t universe. And an own universe, it actually is.

t has created his own subgenre, really, since 2010, in which influences of Mike Oldfield, The Cure, Bj'rk, Radiohead and New Wave acts collide into big, big stories on big, big one-piece-albums. t even hints at the last three belonging together, in one story, a novel or a movie to hear...

well, be that as it may: the music is awesome. on solipsystemology there s beautiful guitars, incredibly great vocals reminiscent of Steve Hogarth, David Bowie and Scott Walker all at once, and fascinating compositions. The music always takes you round corners and then shows you landscapes you did not expect.

The most soaring number, surely, is "Beyond the dark", the last track, that ends in a horror movie scenario between Naked Lunch and Twin Peaks. I ve never been made so scared just by music.

t really is his own master in his own world now. With Solipsystemology (what a word!), he takes the step into Prog Olymp.

Report this review (#2169685)
Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not too sure why t is listed under Neo-Prog? My first association with t, and I assume others would see it too, is Marillion, or to be more precise, the Steve Hogarth Era Marillion, due to a relatively similar voice and style of singing. But despite this association, t does sounds much more adventures and proggy than the source of the comparison and definitely not like your average Neo Prog group.

t has always been a one man project, and here like on his previous albums, this Renaissance Man again plays everything himself, but I feel the music still manages to sound like a band; on this album even more so, than his previous outputs.

Solipsystemology is the third part of a trilogy (preceded by Fragmentropy and Epistrophobia), and like any good trilogy, the lyrics did probably require as much genius as the musical execution. I say probably, because the music is so overwhelming with its majestic soundscapes, emotional outburst and soaring instrumentation that I tend to drift away into some hypnotic state and somehow not really focus on listening to the words.

If you are a fan of t, I can only say: Buy this album, you will not be disappointed. I personally think it's better than its predecessor Epistrophobia, and on the same level as Fragmentropy, if not even better. And if you are not familiar with t, you will probably love this album if you tend to enjoy the current Marillion (and wish they would push a bit out of their comfort zone) or Anathema, a band quite similar in its emotional intensity.

Report this review (#2170867)
Posted Wednesday, April 3, 2019 | Review Permalink
4 stars The music of t (Thomas Thielen) should be better known. The reason it is not is probably that he does not release many of his albums to the streaming sites (there are just two albums on the site I use most frequently).

My introduction to t was Anti-matter Poetry and the extraordinary track Rearview Mirrors Suite (that album and that track are still my favourites). All albums are worth checking out (although I have had to gain access to them by buying them which I was happy to, and will continue to, do) and his latest, Solipsystemology, is no exception. Thielen has a fine voice similar to Bowie and he sings with an intensity that is similar to h of Marillion. There is an extraordinary intensity to his music which is generally melancholy in tone (but not always). He is a talented multi-instrumentalist and his vocals tend to soar over and dominate the subtle (sometimes chaotic) and complex melodies that he writes. His music requires a few listens to be fully appreciated. He is certainly a fine composer and should be more widely recognised.

I have enjoyed Solipsystemology but it has not held me as much as some of his earlier albums and, with this review, I stand by the 4 stars rating I gave at the time of release rather than the 5 stars given by most reviewers here.

Report this review (#2171242)
Posted Friday, April 5, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars T's albums have always displayed an incredible stability in quality: They surely differ in their style, as with every artist worth the name, and therefore may meet the listener's taste more or less, but the sonic and musical quality has always been beyond doubt.

In this array of stunning music, Solipsystemology now marks a new highlight. It seems as if t had condensed all his trademarks again and again. There s industrial, there s acoustic sensibility, there s playful prog, there s soaring new wave - and there s always this incredible mixture of intelligence and emotion at play that you can connect to from either side.

It s difficult to actually highlight single tracks, but if you want to get an idea of the sheer phantasmagoria of Solipsystemology, take the first and the last track. "Beyond the dark" ends in a David-Lynch-like menu of fears and deep abyss like I have not heard before. "The End Where We Begin" has t at his most adventurous composing.

This deserves full five star ratings, and I can but hope that it gets the attention it deserves. An instant classic, if you can find within yourself an open mind for anything but the old chaps from the 70ies. This is no less brilliant than the old masterpieces - therefore it s 5 stars and no less, although I m not quick to hand those out.

Report this review (#2182108)
Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
2 stars What is this? Prog wallpaper. Amnesia music. Cause, I'm not getting it people. A blizzard of five-star ratings. So I listen. t checks off several prog boxes. It's complicated. Manic snare. Manic stare. The album begins with an ending- "The End Where We Begin:" Surprise, it's a concept album. A postmodern Pygmalion failure. And it fades from memory exponentially, the moment I walk away from the headphones. If I stuck Solipsystemology into my car cd player and a song popped up random...Would I recognize it?

Sometimes, it sounds like David Bowie's vocals Humpty Dumpty'ed through the teleport machine from the movie- "The Fly!" Hybrid mangled lullaby- "I'm ready to leave her. I sawed off my arms when she held my hands." A fractal anecdote wrapped within an anecdotal fractal. A unique peek into postmodern mangina motivations. So sad to think of thinking, having thought, the being I've been will stop being. It's all witty, emo, stark, and bland. I kind of liked the piano. Would make a nice ringtone?

Report this review (#2183090)
Posted Sunday, April 14, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars T's releases are always ambitious and of very high quality, but Solipsystemology succeeds on even more levels than his past work.

The gentle melodic falsettos and the emotional walls of sound segue together seamlessly. There is a deeper melancholy to this release, I haven't delved into the lyrics as yet, letting them build their own story on repeat listens, but I know there is a deeper personal story behind them to discover. In terms of performance, I have always thought T's Bowie-esque vocals, diverse piano, proggy keyboards, jazzy drumming, thundering bass and rhythm guitar work are excellent, but his lead guitar work didn't always meet my (excessively) high standards, with them being a bit too samey. I'm glad to say that this album contains excellent variation, more attack, feel and phrasing (the notes that aren't played).

I'm still amazed that all this comes from one mind and body. The layers of the soundscape, diversity of instrument sounds, changes in delivery styles and sheer melody weaved in and out of the at times disparate cacophony all combine to create a work that is his best yet, perhaps a masterpiece. I can't see why not.

Report this review (#2189133)
Posted Sunday, April 28, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars So, Thomas Thielen is back with his seventh solo album, and as usual wrote, played and sang everything, just handing the mastering over to Ian Shepherd. When I heard that T had signed to GEP I was impressed, and pleased for both sides, as he is a perfect edition to their small but incredibly important collection of artists. According to Thomas this is the third layer of a holograph that started with 'Fragmentropy' and 'Epistrophobia' and given my differing views on those two albums I did wonder what this was going to be like. I just didn't 'get' his fifth release, and only awarded it 3/5, which was the lowest I had ever awarded one of his releases (and I am only missing the debut from my collection). But the last album was given the highest score ever, so what would happen with this one?

I knew it was going to be interesting when Thomas and I were talking one night, and he said 'Take your time. This is difficult to get into'. Now, 'difficult' is my middle name (and if you don't believe me ask my wife), so instead of scaring me it just made me even more intrigued. I have noticed already that this appears to be a Marmite album, in that people either love it or hate it, and I know which camp I am firmly in, as I love it. Names such as Geoff Mann, David Bowie, Roy Harper, Steven Wilson, Todd Rundgren, IQ, Twelfth Night and early Pendragon all come to mind, often just for a few bars here and there and sometimes all mixed up together. This is a draining album to play as it demands to be listened to from start to finish, and there is just so much going on that the intensity is almost overwhelming. One must allow the album to take control: let the music take you where it wishes and follow willingly. If you fight it, then you won't either understand or enjoy it, go with the flow as opposed to fighting against the current.

Complex, complicated, simple, acoustic, rocky, truly progressive, manic, all this and so much more. It is hard to describe just how this album makes me feel, and I am sure that at the end of the year when I am pestered by various people this will be firmly inside my Top Ten. He even put a band together to tour the album, and that must have been a wonderful sight to see and hear. New Zealand next maybe? This needs to be in everyone's playlist.

Report this review (#2201219)
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Thomas Thielen is a multi-instrumentalist that has released several albums under the moniker of "T", which is a Neo-prog project based out of Germany. Thomas has been involved with several different bands, but only received minimal recognition in those bands, so he decided to start his own project. In most of these albums, 7 released since 2002, he has been the sole musician. His last three albums have been part of a series of albums told in chapters. In March of 2019, he released the 3rd in this trilogy called "Solipsytemology", which incorporates Chapters 7, 8 and 9. The album is made up of 7 long tracks for a total run time of over 72 minutes. Once again, he is the sole performer on this album.

Chapter Seven is called "The End Where We Begin", and the first track is the 14 minute "The End of Always". The track starts with a chaotic mix of noise and instruments, but suddenly cuts off to a very quiet processed keyboard and vocals, which eventually opens up to normal volume and then full instrumentation kicks in. The vocals are passionate and the music is very cinematic. Just as it seems to be reaching a climax, it returns to the tin can effect again, and then cycles through another build in intensity. The vocals have a certain resemblance to David Bowie, but the music is a definite neo-prog sound with plenty of keyboards, effects and guitar with occasional sections including saxophone and violin. The music is also very dynamic in both volume and in changing textures quickly moving from minimal to full instrumentation many times throughout the track. The music stays complex, never settling into one particular sound for too long, but it does remain quite dramatic throughout. The second part of this chapter is the 8 minute "That Thought You Lost at Home". The overall beat of this one is a bit faster and more consistent. A nice guitar and synth section establishes some nice melodies, the feel of the track noticeable brighter. After a few minutes, the music calms a bit, but melodies become more complex with some interesting patterns and atmospheric music. A nice soft guitar section moves us along before vocals return after 5 minutes, but the music remains calm, yet somewhat complex. It's not until after 7 minutes that the drums bring in a slow but constant rhythm.

Chapter 8: "The Trauma of Happiness". This section starts with another 8 minute track called "A Haunted Ghost". This starts similar to the first track, but it's not long before full instrumentation starts. This moves between processed and somewhat ambient sections to normal and fuller sections. Again, the track is an exciting conglomeration of feelings, textures and many melodies and the music moves smoothly between all the changes without feeling choppy at all. The addition of a cello in the last few minutes lends a nice sound that creates a tension that culminates in an emotional guitar solo. "Lifeoscopy" is the shortest track at 6 minutes. This track follows more of a singular melodic idea than the other tracks, and is probably the most accessible track because of that, however, it still retains a level of complexity. "Laughter's Cold Remains" returns to dynamic structures again, ever changing along its 12 minute course. Once again, you get heavy and light sections with various textures and feelings throughout. A nice change of pace midway through is led by a rousing synth solo. One thing you will notice is the album is lyrically heavy, so when there is time to throw in an instrumental section, it's a welcome change. However, the music never settles for too long as it weaves its way around ever changing passages and emotions.

Chapter 9: "Solipsisters". "When We Are Us" begins with a very solid beat and great guitar hooks, one of the few more melody driven tracks that relies on a more repetitive pattern. Of course, this changes after a few minutes when the music calms down and takes us through the kaleidoscope of sounds and styles, even adding in a dissonant piano section before bringing in more guitars, and a very exciting instrumental section. Heavy progressiveness continues, again never resting too long on any one style. The last track is another 14 minute track called "Beyond the Dark". This continues the complexities of the previous tracks, always changing in mood and style with some excellent instrumental sections spread throughout.

The music on this album is mostly quite complex and involved, moving from one passage to the next with a lot of dynamic change, yet running along smoothly. It is very seldom that the music settles into any one feeling or style for very long. The vocals are emotional, but in a Bowie sort of way. For the listener not used to progressive music, it is going to probably be way over their head, but it is one of those albums that, given time, will grown on them. The musicianship is excellent, but the complexity tends to make the tracks sound alike at first, but with time they take on their own personalities. The album is lyrically heavy, and the melodies are also complex, not following any real standard formats for the most part. This is a great progressive album, definitely a complex neo-prog sound somewhat similar to Marillion, but much more complex than their latest output. Easily 4 stars.

Report this review (#2240020)
Posted Thursday, July 25, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Thomas Thielen, alias "T", published by his 7th album after published before in SCYTHE two other albums. This poly-multi-instrumentalist who began with the synth and piano and finished his musical initiation by the guitar had seduced me in 2010 with "Anti-Matter Poetry" in its ambient prog hovering a little melancholy. I had found more or less distant similarities with Marillion Hogarth era with PORCUPINE TREE for his long tirades drawer and GAZPACHO for sound and the flights, the many breaks, finally with SAVIOR MACHINE for chained titles and phrases sung . But what had struck me most was this mineral voice a little to GABRIEL, over the HOGARTH and especially to BOWIE! In this album, it is about exploring a musical novel about the dream of his life in 3 parts, it represents the last triptych; it is also to listen to a deal with the following chapters 7 to 9! To this end, considering himself as an average musician is with sound textures, moods, atmospheres and recurring melodies resonating he tried to innovate in its last record!

At the stock level, the 3 chapters consist of 7 tracks including "The End of Always" is the start with sound effects SF to "Planet Claire" from the beginning and this beautiful bewitching voice of Thomas; Note to 5'50 '' a little retro effect with jerky recording, sax break with pace and jazzy note to end all sprinkled with a vibrant and confusing sound effect. "That Thought You Lost at Home" from him directly on a cut and paste of what can GAZPACHO at his best level instrumentation and atmosphere is symphonic, it's still intimate with sound breaks and passages calm followed almost too weak crescendos at the limit of spleen, splendid! Connects "A Haunted Ghost" more orchestral again Yet the recognizable voice packed with emotion (close our eyes and we hear Thomas BOWIE !!) and progressive passages with piano, distant voice and sudden increase in sound and voice growing strident guitar solos for recalling here post rock or MONO GOD IS aN ASTRONAUT, the final out a guitar solo ROTHERIEN! "Lifeoscopy" here offers a single-phrased voice to the SAVIOR MACHINE or ALICE IN CHAINS for a short title, a little SIGUR ROS or SYLVAN'S for voice and another superb guitar solo transcended by a battery present more acoustic. "Laughter's Cold Remains" comes attached to a symphonic piece, religious or military but also melancholy, here we share the universe of "Brave" MARILLION always with a voice level redundancy and instrumentation for successive breaks that intoxicate. Note in this regard his voice modulating between Bowie and HOGARTH. Finally comes the "Chapter Nine" the most intense, the most successful in my opinion with "When We Were Us" feature and the voice of Thomas, a syncopated drums and sheets of chopped keyboards (one arrives at the goldsmith there!) ; a break with voiceover on memories of the 2nd World War and jazzy notes, followed by other more or crimsoniennes wilsonniennes, take us to the sounds of ANGLAGARD ANEKDOTEN see is that it is varied and it touches on lots of groups! I hear even low to JOE JACKSON at a time, a sign that we are dealing with a real prog crucible here; limit the angelic voice comes back meaning to a final explosive bringing de facto "Beyond the Dark" even darker. Here, it seems to have a bit of all the trends of the album, so the GAZPACHO but with an intimate atmosphere MARILLION was a beautiful ride to a final beginning about 6 minutes with solo limit gilmourien in two stages and a final dark, where cries of "Nazgul" come tickle your ear.

Well, it stamped prog disk, there's no picture, one might say! it all was to leave, soft atmospheres with crescendo of intimate atmospheres with explosion of voices and solos, we have breaks to disturb our ears and look for original sounds were the atmospheric rock hovering loaded spleen, melancholy sensibility and where emotion seems to revive the turning of a title. It is both soft and bright, sad and haunting, dynamic and intimate, fresh and lively, a culinary fresco in some way with this menu which may be in the best of 2019. Finally, T surrounds musicians for concerts, but in the studio it is from him that the notes come out and that I'm still not back!

Report this review (#2310402)
Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | Review Permalink

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