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The Devil's Staircase

Eclectic Prog

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The Devil's Staircase The Devil's Staircase album cover
3.66 | 11 ratings | 3 reviews | 36% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2020

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gravitation (Parts 1 & 2) (11:11)
2. Rule 34 (4:03)
3. Room 101 (4:03)
4. Morse ..--.. (11:15)
5. Cantor's Dust (10:21)

Total Time 40:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Aaron Geller / electric guitar
- Ramsés Luna / saxophone, MIDI wind, electronics
- Tim McCaskey / acoustic guitar
- Luis Nasser / bass, holophonics
- Mattias Olsson / drums, percussion, Mellotron
- Edgar Arrellín Rosas / sound design

Thanks to Nogbad_The_Bad for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE The Devil's Staircase Music

THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE The Devil's Staircase ratings distribution

(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (45%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE The Devil's Staircase reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars It's hard to believe that a mere few decades ago music was very limited in stylistic approach and pretty much controlled by a relatively few major players in the industry however in the 21st century our collective imagination is the limit with unprecedented amounts of musical expressions emerging from every nook and cranny from this beautiful planet. While a gazillion bands seem to emerge from the masses every single day, very few actually seem to capture the imaginative process in a way that rises to the higher ranks of musical creativity.

Considering all the aspects of making an album such as musical content, album cover art, band moniker and conceptual adaptations, very few seem to weave all these elements together in a meaningful way but once in a while a group of similar minded musicians comes together and does just that! Lo and behold emerging as a multi-national bandwithmembers from Mexico, the US and Sweden called THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE has released its self-titled debut album that emerged in the freakily crazy year of 2020. Having released an eclectically interesting unique style of progressive rock, THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE that has been influenced by the heady disciplines of the mathematics of fractals, cellular automata, planetary orbits and chaos! Now that's some friggin' nerdy crap for sure!

This supergroup is essentially the project of Chicago physics professors Luis Nasser (bass, holophonics) and Tim McCaskey (acoustic guitar), both of Songs Umbra who employ the musical abilities of Ramses Luna (saxophone, MIDI wind, electronics) and Edgar Arrellin (sound design) of Mexican avant-garde rock band Luz de Riada along with guitarist Aaron Geller of Might Could. Also joining the fractalized freak-fest is former Anglagard member Mattias Olsson on drums, percussion and mellotron and together this sextet crafts some gnostic gnarliness that perfectly exemplifies an instrumental album's worth of five tracks that generates an interesting array of eclectic prog rock that evokes the retro sounds of the past while engaging in modern tones and textures. The result is one of my favorite albums of 2020 that completely evaded my attention.

Nerdiness aside, this isn't one of those albums in the vein of Arnold Schonberg that utilizes mathematical abstractness for the sake of itself but rather takes the listener on an instrumental journey that not only marries the sensibilities of Swedish sensations Anglagard with the knotty angularities of King Crimson in an avant-garde mood but also features rather interesting RIO sensibilities that wouldn't sound out of place on a chamber rock prog album from Univers Zero, Present or Miriodor. Make no mistake in perception here. THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE present a hefty guitar driven brand of prog that features the usual rock instruments such as bass, drums and keyboards but also features the occasional jazzy touches courtesy of the saxophone.

Echoes and off-kilter time signature enrich the riffing process while stellar production values elevate the beautiful musical performances into a wider spectrum of sound structures, collages and harmonic overtones. The bass is beefed and pronounced, the drumming patterns are complex yet complementary while the guitar tones are gorgeous as the focal counterpoint to a groove driven proggy style that marries yesterday with the modern day. While the blurbs may boast about facts and geometry as being the impetus of creation, in reality THE DEVIL'S STAIRCASE very much employs the traditional prog characteristics that emerged so very long ago. In fact i'd probably call this a retro prog album more than something truly radically new in style but guess what! That's totally OK because these guys do it oh so very well. This is a beautiful album from beginning to end with excellent instrumental interplay. Nice!

Review by kev rowland
3 stars This debut instrumental album was released in 2020 and features Aaron Geller (electric guitar), Ramsés Luna (saxophone, MIDI wind, electronics), Tim McCaskey (acoustic guitar), Luis Nasser (bass, holophonics), Mattias Olsson (drums, percussion, Mellotron) and Edgar Arrellín Rosas (sound design). According to their Bandcamp page, "Want to hear what Fractal Geometry, Chaos and Non-linear physics sound like when the mathematics becomes music? Climb the Devil's Staircase..." Okay, so exactly what does that have to do with utilising a slab of Gustav Holst's 'Mars, the Bringer of War'? Apart from that, the professors have taken the maths and then created music out of it, and have then explained what they did in their blog. As a theoretical exercise it is fascinating, but what does it mean when listening to it?

Firstly, everyone involved is a master musician, and while they have coming at this as a mathematical construct it also needs to make sense musically and they have ended up with an album which is highly influenced by the likes of VDGG and King Crimson. It is experimental, yet so not so out in left field as to be unlistenable and there is a lot here which is worthy of investigation. They use acoustic guitars as well as electric to strong effect, and the music is always complicated, always moving, with strange tie signatures and patterns. We get a clip taken from an early film (I think) of '1984' when Winston is told what is in Room 101 before we go into the song of the same name, which features some very nice bass and incredibly distorted wind instruments which are quite chilling.

Apart from the red line on the cover which represents the devil's staircase within a spiral staircase (connected to the Cantor set), the artwork both front and back is in different shades of grey which may look nice but does make it almost impossible to read, and we have similar on the Bandcamp page. This means I am unsure as to what other information is available on this, but overall this is an interesting debut and I look forward to hearing more.

Latest members reviews

4 stars THE DEVIL S STAIRCASE is the instrumental project of Luis Nasser and Tim Mc Caskey from SONUS UMBRA, surrounded by some other very talented and competent musicians! In a way, it's an extension of SONUS UMBRA music, but slightly different somehow ! There are many influences here and the fact th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2539427) | Posted by Ovidiu | Friday, April 30, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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