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Mother Turtle

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Mother Turtle Zea Mice album cover
3.91 | 124 ratings | 5 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Zea Mice Part 1 - Kukuruzu (6:44)
2. Zea Mice Part 1 - #Cornhub (8:06)
3. Zea Mice Part 2 - Sea Mice (6:53)
4. Zea Mice Part 2 - Zeitenlik (1:21)
5. Zea Mice Part 2 - Vermins (6:40)
6. Zea Mice Part 2 - Fourward (1:57)
7. Zea Mice Part 3 - Vermins(reprise) (1:11)
8. Zea Mice Part 3 - Nostos (16:38)

Total Time 49:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Kostas Konstantinidis / guitars, MIDI, ukulele, lead & backing vocals, composer
- Giorgos Theodoropoulos / keyboards, programming
- Babis Prodromidis / saxophone
- Alex Kiourntziadis / violin
- George Filopelou / bass
- Giorgos Mpaltas / drums

- Elpida Papakosma / vocals (1,5)
- Aristotelis Mavropoulos / poems reading (4)
- Apostolis Georgiadis / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Synodinos Moschidis

Digital album (2018)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MOTHER TURTLE Zea Mice ratings distribution

(124 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MOTHER TURTLE Zea Mice reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars The band has evolved in a new direction with this new album which seems weird to consider them a Heavy Prog band. You will hear some space, psychedelic influences and still some jazz parts. They enjoy building their songs like a jam session slowly for most of their songs except for the first track and last one which has a frenetic pace that is more complex with many twists. The songs are developed with such simplicity that it easy to get you hooked in a kind of infectious groove where each instrument is seducing you, starting with the great drums and that heavy sounded bass As for the keyboards, they are still present in the background subtly in the Canterbury style. And what about the great guitar playing of Kostas Konstantinidis. The addition of some violin and sax to the drum/bass combo bring more textures to the overall sound of this brilliant album. I heard influences from bands like Djam Karet and Ozric Tentacles and a lot more in this album that is mostly instrumental. Recommended!
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After dropping the surprise bomb on me two years ago with their amazing "II"--a Top 10 Album of 2016 for me--I was super excited when Bandcamp notified me of this new release.

1. "Zea Mice part 1: Kukuruzu" (6:44) opens like a prog song with long-held buzzing solo synth and vocal samples from field recordings in Russian (?) before breaking into a hard-driving, engagingly-themed rocker. Reminds me of The D Project's "Shimmering Lights." Nice work from bass, drums, and saxophone. (8.5/10)

2. "Zea Mice part 1: #Cornhub" (8:06) solid foundational music over which several instrumentalists put on a great show: Alex Kiourntziadis' violin, Kostas Konstantinidis' acoustic and electric guitars, George Theodoropoulos' synths. I love the sound of George Baltas' metronomic snare! Marked down for being little more than a smooth jazz jam song. (9/10)

3. "Zea Mice part 2: Sea Mice" (6:53) a nice smooth jazz groove over which synths, electric guitar, and violin take turns at the fore. I like the violin solo and the tension of the final third the best. (8.75/10)

4. "Zea Mice part 2: Zeitenllik" (1:21) an ominous soundscape over which an obviously scary narration is performed . . . in Greek. (4/5)

5. "Zea Mice part 2: Vermins" (6:40) seems a continuation of "Sea Mice" with the same (or variation of the same) driving groove. The female vocalise of Elpida Papakosma range in sound from Ofra Haza's Persian "scatting" to Björkian Sugarcube-era sounds. Guitar and violin lead us into a thicker, faster section in the fifth minute. The final minute becomes more spacious and synthed, themed around a kind of James Bond riff. Nice tune. (9/10)

6. "Zea Mice part 2: Fourward" (1:57) North African drumming within which piano and synths sneak intermittent riffs. Cool! (4.5/5)

7. "Zea Mice part 3: Vermins (reprise)" (1:11) a stripped down, acoustic version of the Vermins theme? Pretty but I don't hear the similarity. (4.5/5)

8. "Zea Mice part 3: Nostos" (16:38) excellent hard-driving instrumental prog over a techno-synth rhythm track. The final third turns radically into some smoky lounge jazz. Excellent sound but . . . why? (9/10)

It's taken me a long, long time to get up to writing a review of this album--despite the fact that I've owned it for over half the year. There's just a lot of dense music--which is particularly challenging to critique with instrumental music. The quality of performances and "hooks" is high but I really miss the wonderful storytelling that the vocals and instruments did with the previous album.

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of instrumental progressive rock.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 255

Mother Turtle is a Greek progressive rock band that started as a jam studio band who take their cues from nearly all aspects of progressive rock, a synergy of many ingredients tossed, fried, and served in sizzler style to make this a very tasty prog band. Mother Turtle was formed in Thessaloniki in 2011 and previously was known as Hogweed. The band members cite as their inspirations Frank Zappa, Rush, Camel, Genesis, Marillion, and many other prog rock legends.

Mother Turtle is perhaps the most mischievous and known progressive rock band from Greece nowadays. Surely it's one of the most representatives of the term 'progressive', without the strain it has been through for at least 20 years, and not just within borders, is global. If there is an element independent of the exact musical content I'm looking for in a prog band, that's the unpredictability. Mother Turtle have this element as a key part of their temperament and that was shown both on their self-titled debut studio album in 2013 and on their second one 'II' in 2016. Even within each album the different elements are many and even the basic direction isn't the same on the tracks. Their third studio album 'Zea Mice' released in 2018 solemnly confirms the above it the most challenging listening experience offered us so far.

So, 'Zea Mice' is the third studio album of Mother Turtle and was released in 2018. The core of Kostas Konstantinidis, George Theodoropoulos and George Baltas have been writing music together since the band's self- titled debut, adding George Filopelou, Alexander Kiourntziadis and Babis Prodromidis for their sophomore release 'II'. All of them have stayed on for this third foray into the realm of the progressive rock music. So, the line up on the album is Kostas Konstantinidis (lead and backing vocals, guitars, MiDi, ukulele and composer), Giorgos Theodoropoulos (keyboards and programming), Babis Prodomidis (saxophone), Alex Kiourntziadis (violin), George Filopelou (bass) and Giorgos Mpalats (drums). 'Zea Mice' also features some guest musicians, Elpida Papakosma (vocals), Aristotelis Mavropoulos (reader) and Apostolis Georgiadis (percussion).

For an unsigned act in just their seventh year, Mother Turtle has presented some remarkably mature and fascinating writing to the world. Their independent work is polished and consistently gains reputation in the realm of progressive rock music. In their new work, Mother Turtle decided to silence vocally and concentrates almost only on music. From the earliest hearings, one could say that the band parodies an entire musical genre. Still, things in 'Zea Mice' are absolutely serious, really. But, perhaps the most interesting here is that 'Zea Mice' is an instrumental album, which is a departure from the band's first two previous albums, both of which featured regular vocal work. While several pieces on this release do feature recitations and meandering vocalizations, the vast majority of the album is an extended instrumental journey through funk, jazz, electronic, and ambient music. 'Zea Mice' proves that Mother Turtle can and will employ a varied approach to composing in a musical niche where it seams the sky is truly the only limit to them.

'Zea Mice' is comprised of three movements, simply entitled Parts I, II and III, each one is a multi-track ordeal. Being an instrumental album with ambiguous track titles and only a handful of spoken portions, all in Greek, by which to navigate, the album's artwork and language conjure thematic images of refuse, abandonment, and survival. Musically speaking, there are sections that trend toward jazz-fusion, others that are dirty hard rock, and others still that touch on the territory of avant-garde music. The composition of Mother Turtle remains the same and unaltered compared to the previous 'II'. The jamming spirit that seemed to adopt on their previous work, not only continues but it's also a vehicle to explore new prog paths that we have not been used to. One would say how the neo-prog and symphonic style of their self-titled debut has almost disappeared, while the jazz rock and Canterbury elements of 'II' have been thrilled by psych prog touches that bring to my mind the best moments of Ozric Tentacles and Porcupine Tree period of the 90's.

Conclusion: Mother Turtle impressed me once again and I would say that I'm very impressed with the way the band evolves. 'Zea Mice' is a difficult but a brilliant album of Mother Turtle where is difficult to point an indisputably lonely progressive style. One has to invest some time and effort to get to the bottom of this band and album that, besides a broad range of musical approaches, also offers an infinite number of instruments and moods. This isn't easy stuff, indeed. Personally, I think it really says something about the band's compositional abilities when they can write an instrumental album with unique tracks that don't simply bleed into one unidentifiable whole. In reality 'Zea Mice' is an ingenious combination of styles and flavours of rock, jazz, primal prog, contemporary prog, larded with folk, metal, oriental, classical and endless other influences. Prog rock must be revolutionary, and under this light, Mother Turtle is the undisputed marketers of this particular artistic insurrection. So, 'Zea Mice' is a strong and great album to listen to.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The northern Greece septet Mother Turtle began life as a jam band in Thessaloniki, but those improvisational skills would stay dormant until the group recorded its third studio album in late 2017. After previously aping the efforts of too many English and American role models, the band shifted its entire approach to making music, and in the process accomplished something rare in modern Prog circles: they actually progressed, far enough to be almost unrecognizable from the same musicians responsible for the excellent but more conventional 'II' album in 2016.

It was a dramatic left turn in what could have been a predictable career arc, embracing a far more dangerous form of (strictly instrumental) musical spontaneity, risky in practice but more rewarding in realization. The motivations behind the unexpected shift in style are unclear, but it was a smart move: these guys work better as musicians than as songwriters, and "Zea Mice" proves that point in sometimes stunning fashion.

The first track ("Zea Mice Part 1-Kukuruzu") opens with all guns blazing, propelled by an angry, urgent rhythm more or less maintained for the rest of the album. The distorted (Russian?) voice at the beginning sets an appropriate mood, sounding to this cineaste like a Tarkovsky Stalker warning trespassers away from The Zone (the album's digital 'cover' photo of industrial decay only heightens this impression).

A hint of heavy Space Jazz juju emerges in the second half ("Zea Mice Part 1-#Cornhub": all the track titles are inscrutably repetitive), with ace violinist Alex Kiourntziadis leading the charge. The occasional near-ambient interlude ("Zea Mice Part 2-Zeitenlik") does nothing to soften the album's exhilarating momentum; it isn't until the end of the climactic 16-plus minute "Zea Mice Part 3-Nostos" that the energy level subsides, into a surprising (but not unwelcome) mellow jazz coda totally at odds with the musical juggernaut preceding it: the musical analogue of that pensive cigarette break after a night of intense sex.

My only criticism is about the sometimes haphazard organization and editing. Individual tracks often fade into a performance in progress, and are rarely resolved in anything like a satisfactory ending. As a result the music lacks the seamless transitions that would have elevated the album into 5-star territory, but it's a mild complaint, and easy to forgive while in the grip of the performances: more of a chokehold really, and impossible to resist.

Without a doubt the album was one of the highlights of 2018, and marked a significant musical evolution for the band over the span of only a few studio albums. Apparently, for this Turtle, slow and steady wasn't going to win any races.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Mother Turtle from Thessaloniki, Greece, established in 2011. The style is heavy avant-garde, which I personally consider to be one of the best avant-garde rock bands in Greece (hardly one). 16 years I was shocked 2 specifically ordered me hooked (but that is not heavy, more art). They were also inf ... (read more)

Report this review (#1888158) | Posted by mitarai_panda | Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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