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Electric Mud - Quiet Days on Earth CD (album) cover

QUIET DAYS ON EARTH

Electric Mud

Eclectic Prog


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5 stars The follow up to 2018 Deconstruction of Light - Hagen and Nico return with with 79 minutes of beautiful soundscapes -more ambient and less industrial than the predecessor.15 tracks take you through a journey of moods.If you want to compare then elements of Tangerine Dream,Camel,classicPink Floyd and a touch of pastoral Genesis. No weak tracks,but I will highlight some standouts. Track 2 Silhouettes has a quiet piano intro and sequencer kick in at 1.25 similar to T Dream.Percussion hits at 3.45 -and overall a great track with many parts. Track 3 mer de GlacÚ sounds icy -very Vangelis - a short track,but quite beautiful Track 4,the title track goes through many phases.An acoustic intro backed by subtle organ,synths enter at 2.48 then Camel like electric guitar at 5.16 -this has everything. Eerie voices begin track 7 ,which begins with a siren like synth blast and builds calmly but dramatically to 4.35,but then quietens into a calm but beautiful conclusion Track 8 Durance -a short track but destined to be a highlight is a quiet track with soft percussion and gentle,bubbling synths dancing playfully. Track 12 begins with church sounding organ,builds with acoustic guitar and sequencer,then symphonic ending after 2.30 Track 14 begins with very Steve Hackett like acoustic guitar,and flute similar to pastoral Genesis,changes direction at 1.50 with more dark synth pattern.I like the closing sequence of this with sax sound over an increasing symphonic background -quite King Crimson Track 15,the final track is quite beautiful with a Mellotron flute like intro at 1.09 comes a stunningly beautiful Air-like synth backdrop with percussion,piano and a gentle beat - my favourite track -one I will play a lot.The album ends on this optimistic note -stunning. This has to be one of the albums of the year and highly recommended.
Report this review (#2409734)
Posted Thursday, June 4, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars Madness and Anarchy

There's Stately Beauty Here

Yes, it's undeniable. Some passages lead me straight to fantasy- an orchestra, ballet dancers, a vast stage. Stately chord progressions that grow and swell, then begin to subtly change key and direction, putting the listener on the alert- quiet anarchy.

Electric Mud in Pulsating Maneuvers

The name itself suggests something earthy, slimy, fecund...with electrical currents racing and zapping and bringing menace.

Where Once We Heard Rude Bass Tones

Hagen knows how to honk and grunt and bring the bass into new dimensions. THIS album slithers into synthesizer territory, electronica, wrecking- with grace and majesty and slyly demonic stylings- the peaceful, restful expectations being made.

Yes, Madness and Anarchy

You see, nibbling at the edges of this gently simmering pot of musical brews and stews are alien spaceship voyagings, other-worldly chitterings and creakings of insects, small critters from another galaxy gnawing away, and perhaps the through-line for Electric Mud music- the alienating intrusions of industrial wastelands and decaying superstructures that once held great promise.

Sure, We Get Seduced

The gentle acoustic piano, the rich Hammond organ sounds, the synthesized flute or (actual?) sax, the drums (programmed?), the surges and flows of fine compositions-

But Then

Oh yes, just as we settle back into lush ecstasy, we are silkily shocked by bleating bass sounds, hammering from some celestial forge, dragged from cathedral organ to an underlying dissonant tension of driving...anarchy... beneath it all.

Madness.

I thought the voices, the sentences spoken, the attempted conversations, the scratchy dirty record sounds, the tarnished tones added up to madness, just there, just a pretext, just a suggestion, just in hints and at the edges.

I Thought Hagen and Nico Inhabit a Dangerous World

And perhaps, so do we all- the beauty interlaced with menace, quietly percolating sometimes loudly intruding- anarchy.

My Rating

4.5/5 anarchic anvils.

Report this review (#2435997)
Posted Saturday, August 8, 2020 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band ELECTRIC MUD was formed back in 2011, and since then main men Hagen Bretschneider and Nico Walser have explored their particular variety of post-progressive rock on 5 studio albums so far. "Quiet Days on Earth" is the most recent of these, and was released through German label Timezone Records in 2020.

The music explored by Electric Mud on this latest album of theirs isn't as easy to digest as one might surmise when an album is described in a manner that includes the word ambient. Personally I'd summarize this production as being some kind of an avant-garde ambient creation with post-rock tendencies, progressive rock features and something of a futuristic, dystopian sheen to it. If such a description makes any sense at all, and sounds interesting, chances are good that you'll also enjoy what Electric Mud provides of music on "Quiet Days on Earth".

Report this review (#2442753)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2020 | Review Permalink
nick_h_nz
COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars [Originally published at The Progressive Aspect]

I first became aware of German band Electric Mud from a review of their 2018 album The Deconstruction of Light on The Prog Mind. I was intrigued enough by the review, and impressed enough by the music, to buy that album, and follow the band on Facebook. Now, a couple of years later, a new Electric Mud album has been released. First things first, I must say Quiet Days on Earth is not at all what I expected! Had this been the first album I heard from Electric Mud, I would of course have had no expectations. So, why was this album such a shock for me?

The Deconstruction of Light was a challenging, diverse, eclectic and adventurous album, full of distortion and dissonance, roaring guitars and edgy synths. Yet for every passage of King Crimson meets Black Sabbath heaviness, there were atmospheric and almost ambient Tangerine Dream meets Pink Floyd electronic soundscapes. Add in a little Camel and maybe some Deep Purple. Three of the tracks were lengthy numbers that naturally led to an expansiveness of sound, and progression of varying moods and ideas. But even the shorter numbers were not static. Wonderfully, for such an eclectic mix, as surprising as some of the changes could be, they were all beautifully fluid and organic. A lot of this consistency in the face of constant change is down to the bass of Hagen Bretschneider, who sets the tone for each track. The importance of the bass in any band is often under-appreciated, but it's hard to overlook the contribution Bretschneider's bass provides to the sound of Electric Mud.

Quiet Days on Earth is an almost entirely different beast. All the bombast and brouhaha has gone. I guess the title of the album should have alerted me to this, but it didn't occur to me at all. And yet, as different as the album might seem on first impression, it has far more similarities to its forebear than are immediately apparent. While The Deconstruction of Light is probably best described as a heavy album, for its at times violent and industrial nature, it still has plenty of delicate and beautiful passages. It is those more cinematic and atmospheric vibes which form the mainstay of Quiet Days on Earth. Passionate, poignant, and restrained. It makes for an easier listening experience than The Deconstruction of Light ' where the seemingly inexhaustible changes of mood, tempo and complexity could potentially be overwhelming ' but whether that makes it better is entirely subjective. I think I like both albums equally, and it depends entirely on my own mood, what my preference will be at any one time.

Unlike the predecessor, much of Quiet Days on Earth is slow-burning. It creeps up on you, as layers and textures within the music intensify. I'm reminded often of Nordic Giants, but Electric Mud create even more affective soundscapes. Bretschneider's bass, once again, shines. I often realise I am paying more attention to his nimble fingers than to other more overt instrumentation in the mix, and that is a shame, because the sheer amount of different sounds created by the other member of the duo, Nico Walser, is nothing short of amazing! So much of the music is so gentle and subtle, that it enters the mind subconsciously, and it's only on closer listening that you realise just how much attention to detail has been made.

Yet, though it may seem like Quiet Days on Earth is all peaceful and non-threatening in comparison to The Deconstruction of Light, there are plenty of moments that are just as haunting and unsettling. The dreamy melodies might not quite be nightmarish, but there are definite moments where they are more malevolent than they might initially seem. It's definitely not an entirely relaxing journey, but this keeps the listener on their toes, and a little on edge, just as effectively as the constant shifts of The Deconstruction of Light did.

I was going to pick highlights, until I realised I was listing almost every track as a highlight. After repeated listens I have come to realise that Quiet Days on Earth has just as many changes and shifts as The Deconstruction of Light after all. The difference is that they have been made within a far narrower scope, so they are not so immediately noticeable. I think I recall a review of the previous album where the reviewer mentioned that Electric Mud have as many changes in style in one track than other artists do over a whole album. That holds just as true for Quiet Days on Earth. And yet, just as with The Deconstruction of Light, the track never sounds incohesive, disjointed of forced. Every transition is seamless. There's a sense that this album must have been incredibly meticulously crafted. Something that sounds this effortless clearly took a lot of effort to sound that way, and I can't help but be impressed every time I listen.

Report this review (#2453703)
Posted Sunday, October 4, 2020 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars This is the fourth album by German band Electric Mud, and although this is the first time I have come across them any band which describes their last album as Deep Purple and Camel jammed together with Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream then they are going to grab my attention. This release is described as "rooted in the classic prog era of the 70's but takes a step forward into the great unknown of instrumental territory sublimely combining styles like post-rock with neoclassical elements and Berlin school." This is definitely looking back to the Seventies, with Tangerine Dream being very much the main influence, alongside some early Kraftwerk and Brian Eno, resulting in something which is delicate and dreamy, yet also containing some repetitive elements which take the music in a quite different direction. The band used to be a live trio, but these days have morphed into a studio-based duo with founder Hagen Bretschneider (bass) joined by guitarist and keyboard player Nico Walser.

Together they have produced an album which at times feels incredibly fragile in its simplicity, at others more complex, but always interesting and intriguing. This has a deep heart and soul within it, passionate yet somehow fresh and invigorating without ever being overbearing. Synthesisers are very much at the heart of all they do yet they do not fall into the traps of being overbearing, with guitars used sparingly yet to great effect, and a use of space as an additional element. There is even fretless bass and classical guitar, not what one would normally expect from a band playing this style of music. The result is a very enjoyable album indeed, which fans of this school of music should seek out.

Report this review (#2478187)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2020 | Review Permalink

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