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Shamblemaths Shamblemaths 2 album cover
4.32 | 177 ratings | 14 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Måneskygge (1:05)
2. Knucklecog (9:56)
3. D.S.C.H. (Op. 110 String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Movements 1-2) (6:24)
4. Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pts. 1-4 (6:37)
5. Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pt. 5 (5:38)
6. Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pts. 6-8 (3:43)
7. Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pt. 9 (2:18)
8. Been and Gone (2:13)
9. This River (9:04)

Total Time 46:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Simen Ådnøy Elliingsen / soprano, alto, tenor & baritone saxophones, electric & acoustic guitars, soprano recorder, tin whistle, vocals, chant, whispers, saxophone samples, occasional keyboards
- Ingvald Andre Vassbø / drums, xylophone

- Eskild Myrvoll / bass
- Paolo Botta / keyboards (4-6)
- Eirik Øverland Dischler / keyboards (2,3,9)
- Marianne Lonstad / vocals (2,9)
- Anna Gaustad Nistad / vocals (4,6)
- Pia M. Samset / vocals (3,5)
- Leon Li / bassoon (4,6)
- Eivor Ådnøy Elliingsen (Age 6) / vocals (7)
- Michael Francis Duch / double bass (7,8)
- Morten A. Nome / double bass (1)
- Ask Vatn Strom / guitar cameo (6)
- 15 seconds of track 6 performed by Kanaan

Releases information

Label: Apollon Records Prog
Format: Vinyl (Black, Red Ltd. 300), CD, Digital
October 22, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SHAMBLEMATHS Shamblemaths 2 ratings distribution

(177 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SHAMBLEMATHS Shamblemaths 2 reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars The mature veterans who appeared out of no where with their debut album five years ago have upped the ante-- chosen to travel in a direction that may surprise some--yet do so with intelligence, resolve, and incredible talent.

1. "Måneskygge" (1:05) very cool horn over droning bowed double bass. Sounds like something exotic from the Middle East. (5/5)

2. "Knucklecog" (9:56) I had forgotten how mischevious Simen Å. Ellingsen's Ian Anderson/Peter Gabriel voice of impishness could sound: quite the theatric performance! Otherwise, the feel of this song and its sound palette feels quite like that of countrymen SEVEN IMPALE's 2014 debut, City of the Sun. Impressive drumming--very much like something out of the lexicon of the great jazz masters. And I love the insistent VDGG-like push of the main chordal theme's rhythm section. Great work on the keys and horns. (18.25/20)

3. "D.S.C.H." (Op. 110 String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Movements 1-2) "Imaginary Friend" (6:24) the sound here is so similar to the music Paolo "Ske" Botta was doing with Francesco Zago in the band NOT A GOOD SIGN that I'm rather shocked to see that Ske is not listed as a participant in its composition and studio rendering. Beautiful performance by the vocalists. I especially love the brief little duet between Ms. Pia Samset and the Mellotron! I understand that this is a rock rendering of a classical composition (intelligently done--with admirable creativity in the choices of instrumentation!), so it's a bit of a challenge to comment on the composition, so it comes down more to the piece's selection and arrangement. Interesting and commanding. (9/10)

4. "Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pts. 1-4" (6:37) beautiful innocent vocal-led introduction--almost child-like--from Anna Gaustad Nistad, which is then overtaken by the thick, driving VDGG-like bluesy rock of the full band, saxophone leading the barrage. The contrast with Ske's frequent and brief solo electric piano interludes is brilliant! Even culminating in a little two-minute mediæval motif in the fourth, fifth, and sixth minutes. Are my ears deceiving me in that I hear some traditional Christmas-like melodies entwined with a variation on Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"? (9.5/10)

5. "Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pt. 5" (5:38) opens like the disorganized primordial soup that is the beginning of EUMIR DEODATO's opening to "Also Sprach Zarathustra"--even using the same Fender Rhodes and bass and drums sounds. As it begins to congeal it morphs into a kind of Miles Davis Jazz-Rock Fusion foray. The deep bass chords at 3:40, however, dispell any jazz pretensions--as does the UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA/Ana Torres Fraile-like layered vocalizations of Pia M. Samset Very cool song! (9.25/10)

6. "Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pts. 6-8" (3:43) the oddest, most angular stop-and-start, zig-zagging song on the album--even with an all-acoustic movement in the middle. Again, the similarities to the music of YUGEN/NOT A GOOD SIGN/SKE are striking. Great drumming and electric guitar work in the 8th movement. (8.75/10)

7. "Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia Pt. 9: Mørker vik på all Hans veg" (2:18) basically horns and piano over which small human (Eivor Å. Ellingsen, aged 6) sings. (4.25/5)

8. "Been and Gone" (2:13) a sparsely-populated YUGEN-like composition that has double bass and droning chorus of vuvuzela-like horns as its central elements. Nice cinematic tension filler. (4.25/5)

9. "This River" (9:04) a delightful and deeply rewarding exercise in restraint and spaciousness that includes two wonderfully tender performances by the male and female singers. The rise in intensity during the fifth and sixth minutes is probably my favorite 90 seconds of music that I've heard from 2021! I love the vocals and the drummer's cymbal play! Perhaps my favorite song of the year! (20/20)

Total Time 46:58

Shedding the comfort of pleasing melodies (the former Strawbs-iness that I alluded to in my review of their previous album), and treading into the dangerous waters of more chromatically-based musical constructs is a risk Simen and Ingvald were quite willing to make--and I think that their efforts have paid off: They have, here, created a work of sophisticated, intellectual music that bears witness to their other contemporary grandchildren of King Crimson, the Yugen/Not a Good Sign and Seven Impale world is not so surprising were it not for the fact that nearly one half of my 2021 Top 15 Albums of the Year are coming from either Norway or have some connection to Paolo "Ske" Botta! While Shamblemaths 1 really knocked my socks off with their out-of-the-blue technical and compositional high end, this one astounds me in the risks taken by the band to move away from the crowd-pleasing Yes-standards and, instead, explore more obtuse and angular fare. Kudos! Bravo! An even bigger and, ultimately, more impressive surprise than 1.

A-/five stars; a modern masterpiece of progressive rock music that every prog lover should definitely check out! I have no doubt that this will soon be considered one of the 21st Century's essential prog releases!

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars SHAMBLEMATHS exhilarated the prog world with its ambitious retro meets modern day prog attack self-titled debut which was released in 2016, a mere twelve years after the act officially gestated in its Norwegian homeland. Led by the intelligent and ambitious Simen Ådnøy Ellingsen who serves not only as main songwriter, band leader and multi-instrumentalist, SHAMBLEMATHS reemerges five years later with its second coming simply titled SHAMBLEMATHS 2. While utterly and unthinkably uncreative in the titular department, this brilliant concoction of cultured and curated prog attacks showcases an act that is firing on all cylinders and once again rousing the progheads of the world into a feverish frenzy!

For this sophomore release, SHAMBLEMATHS hosts a completely new set of characters delivering a plethora of progginess and finds bassist Eirik Mathias Husum from the first album jumping ship and replaced by drummer / xylophonist Ingvald A. Vassbø joining as the newest half of the dynamic Norwegian duo. In addition is a star studded guest roster of 12 performing on a host of extra instrumentation and vocals. Most notably is Paola Botta known as the keyboardist from Yugen as well as his stage name Ske. Unlike SHAMBLEMATHS 1, #2 does not take prog to the stratosphere with 20-minute plus tracks but rather keeps things on the shorter side but make no doubt about it, this second offering is chock full of frothy whipped prog in doses so dense and delicious that you may risk certain gluttony if you indulge too much!

Clocking in at only 47 minutes, #2 features nine tracks that are more direct than the debut. Likewise the music casts a darker shadow with heavier guitar workouts, starker contrasts and a much richer assemblage of harmonious vocal performances. The addition of several female vocalists adds a dramatic divine feminine touch which contrasts beautifully with the loose-wire masculine freneticism of the instrumentation which is much more chaotic and complex than the debut as a whole displayed. While album #1 featured every kind of retro influence from the avant-prog of Univers Zero to the zeuhl of Magma, #2 takes on a heavier King Crimson approach with heavier passages evoking the "Red" era whereas the jazzy softer parts reminding of "Islands." Due to the heavinesss bands like Anekdoten and other 90s prog revivalists come to mind as well.

The Ske influences are obvious as well as the avant-prog leanings of the debut are ramped up into near-Yugen adroitness with a huge range of moods generated through myriad tones, textures, timbres and splendiferous motifs. Oft herky jerky and zolo-esque, SHAMBLEMATHS delivers breathtaking prog workouts that evoke the best of the best of prog adventurists reminding of classics like Il Balleto di Bronzo's "Ys" or Birds And Building's most adventurous moments. This winding stampede of progginess is what prog dreams are made of and unlike the debut doesn't waste any time dillydallying with repetitive loops that can derail a fixed attention span. The guitar and bass workouts are a few notches above the last album as well with crazy hairpin turns, dangerous deviations from any expectations and drop of a pin transitions back into soft lush folky pastoral pastiches.

The four part "Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Tela" really does evoke dreams of prog paradise with pretty much everything you could want from a modern prog band. Connections to the classic prog traditions only amplified and taken to the next level or two and then polished like a fine gemstone with a gorgeous production that allows all of the sounds to find their proper role in the scheme of things. While "Parts 1-4" are turbulent and tumultuous as a tossed vessel on stormy seas, "Part 5" oft reminds of "Dark Side of the Moon" with jazzy prog rock accompanied by soulful feminine vocal charm. "Parts 6-8" get all wild and woolly again with quick hairpin turn changes of ethnic folk, avant-prog, metal bombast and KC dexterity. This part particularly mines some complexity from Ske and Yugen's twisted world. The closing "Part 9" tones things down a bit in order to catch your breath and is basically 2-minute ethnic avant-folk down time.

"Been And Gone" on the other hand is sort of an atmospheric 2-minute intro for the closing "This River" which at 9-minutes is the second lengthiest track. Starting with a soft piano and some intimate vocal performances, this track slowly percolates into a jazz-fueled mid-tempo rocker and features a rare return to the bubbling zeuhl rhythms more prevalent on the debut. The classic bass stomps and Teutonic march style is softened by the sultry sax squawks and gentleness of the female vocal parts. No stentorian choirs or vocal bombast on this one. This last track sorta comes off as a 9-minute come down from the frenetic nature of the rest of the album. This track seems like a sonic representation of a reflecting pool where you can process the craziness that you just endured up to this point.

All i can say is - WOW! This is definitely one of those albums that has the key to the dopamine receptors! Contrast is the name of the game here. Brutal bombast, sensual pianissimo, chaotic frenzy and calculated harmonious glory. It's all here where much is familiar but even more is not. This is one of those roller coaster rides where you get off the ride and want to jump right back in and do it all over again. One excellent album is no big deal these days as there are many talented musicians lurking about but SHAMBLEMATHS has proven beyond a doubt that this is a talent that hasn't reached its apex, in fact it's only just begun! Well worth the five year wait as there are no disappointing moments on this one. All hail the giant red eye radiating stripes for all! In a very fruitful year of excellent prog releases, SHAMBLEMATHS 2 sits high on the perch of best albums of the year! Woohoo!!!

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars First of all thanks to every mate who has recommended this great album to me. "Shamblemaths 2" was released as the second full-length album by a Norwegian rock duo SHAMBLEMATHS in October 2021. This is my first Shamblemath album actually and a quick listen to "2" has notified me why this album is appreciated by lots of progressive rock fans. Very complex, very diverse, but very optimistic and very suggestive ... we could mention this creation as such.

After the prologue entitled "Måneskygge" featuring Simen's refined saxophone sounds, the real departure (and one of their masterpieces) "Knucklecog" possessing energetic sarcastic musical explosions goes forward with incredible rhythmic dissection and melodic distortion. Their intensely enthusiastic dissonance suddenly grabs our heart in a beyond-recovery manner. The sound formation may be sometimes called avantgarde, sometimes heavy, and sometimes jazzy. Such a diversity getting over the subgenre categories is also fascinating. The following "D.S.C.H. (8th String Quartet in Cm, Op. 110, mvts 1 & 2)" (I have had a listen to these quirky mysterious melody lines and found this is an opus by Shostakovich!) is superbly arranged and stabilized by the duo filled with deep strong eccentric rock essence, like "Starbird" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Yeah additionally SCH's tough and sensitive feelings can be expressed so badly. The last song "This RIver" is the grand finale featuring all of their heavy fuzzy dizzy instruments especially drastic saxophone, critical synthesizer, and fantastic female vocals. Earthy grassy flavour like a river on a mountainside or in a deep forest is awesome really.

"Lat Kvar Jordisk Skapning Teia" Suite is the piece de resistance. Melodic weirdness, quietness, harmonization and synchronization are coming out one after another. Dark ambience produced by wind instruments and cynical rhythmic nations is very impressive. Kind of fantasy is that silky-touched sensitive melodic texture is popping out immediately after the darkness. Their complicated melody lines are not common nor rational but two Shamblers' powerful sound launching should make us feel that they are theoretical. The former part of "Part 5" reminds me of the similar vein to French RIO jazz project Red Noise plus heavy metallic innovation. Various soundscape based upon their musical background heard here there everywhere should be enchanting and uncopyable. The following part has perverted deathcore-ish attachments amongst delicate quiet ambient intervals. And 6-year-old Elvor's pretty charming singing can relax us completely in the last "Part 9". Such an unimaginable combination should be cherished in a large scale.

Good work. In a good sense, I love such a 'wonderfully messy sound-polluted' creation indeed.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I must admit I get intimidated reviewing certain albums like this one and so I keep holding off the review plus I want to keep it in my play list for as long as I can. SHAMBLEMATHS is the project of Norwegian Simen A Ellingsen who is a multi- instrumentalist and composer. I gave his debut 4.5 stars and I feel that this is just slightly better and enough to hit that magical 5 star rating. Man I love the retro sound here with the mellotron then add Simen's adventerous sax work and compositions and man this is my album of the year right here. I was reminded of ANGLAGARD and that Swedish sound and it doesn't hurt that the liner notes contain some cool pictures of the "woods" in Norway which ANGLAGARD liked to do showing off those Swedish forests. There just seems to be a connection between the land and the music. This is often dark, mysterious and romantic.

Simen has a new musical partner who is a drummer plus we get many guests adding a variety of vocals, keyboards and bass. There's really only six tracks here spread over 47 minutes as that long track at 18 minutes translated "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" is divided into 4 separate tracks. That title reminds me of a combination of Zechariah 2:13 "Be still before the Lord all mankind because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling" and Habakkuk 2:20 "But the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him".

Speaking of mysterious how about that short 1 minute opener called "Maneskygge" where we get that melancholic alto sax with the double bass helping out. "Knucklecog" is my least favourite only because of the bombast which isn't my thing but that's just a part of this 10 minute piece. Love those psychedelic calms as the keys echo. Jazzy drums and and picked guitar as well. Vocals arrive with mellotron in tow. It kicks in again as sax joins that beautiful atmosphere. Complex is the word 4 minutes in. Check out that sounds after 5 1/2 minutes! A calm follows as themes continue to be repeated then some female vocals after 7 minutes with sax, atmosphere and jazzy drums before kicking back in.

I am blown away by the remainder of this album beginning with the 6 1/2 minute "D.S.C.H." which starts with baritone sax before we are hit with power. Some nasty organ and man SINKADUS comes to mind, this is so good. It settles again quickly with some soprano recorder but that organ is nasty that comes and goes boiling away. Some mellotron as soprano female vocals arrive and other sounds that come and go. It kicks in after 3 minutes with the guitar out front. Soon it's a stampede! The sax is great here and the tempo continues to shift. So much going on at 5 minutes then a calm with piano only. Again it's brief as it kicks back in.

Next is that monster 18 minute piece called "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence"and it opens with solo female vocals before mellotron then some depth kicks in as vocals continue. Oh my! Check out those heavy outbursts. Jarring and powerful. She will step aside as the sax takes the lead in a powerful setting. Some beautiful keyboard sounds after 4 minutes as it has settled followed by mellotron at 5 1/2 minutes. It's building bringing ANGLAGARD to mind before we get another calm.

The next section is dark with sparse sounds. The piano echoes as we hear cymbals and atmosphere. So good! It turns fuller around 2 1/2 minutes. Man this section ends so amazingly with those nasty keyboards, mellotron, sax and heaviness. Come on! Mellotron storms in to end it as we get the next section that begins with female vocals then heaviness with sax. Complex. Love that electric piano and intricate sounds as we get a calm. Picked guitar and xylophone too. Bassoon! Mellotron is ravaging the soundscape 2 minutes in then check out the sound after 3 minutes! The final section opens with a child singing in a reserved way in atmosphere.

"Been And Gone" is a short 2 minute track that is haunting and dark like those woods in Norway. Double bass with experimental sounds along with some mellotron and whispers. "This River" ends it with Simen's understated vocals with piano. I am surprisingly drawn to this. We do get some mellotron, bass and female vocals joining in. Sax will follow as it gets a little fuller and check out that mellotron before 4 minutes. It ends with dual vocals and piano.

What a ride or should I say adventure. I need to do a retro list of my favourite albums I just love this style of music. So many great ideas on this album. I wasn't expecting the mellotron and Simen told me he thought I would like this new direction he went in given my penchant for Rio as he put it.

Review by Warthur
5 stars The second Shamblemaths album finds the band continuing to refine and polish their capability of visiting pretty much every style of progressive rock at once and integrate them all into cohesive and compelling compositions. This time around, there's a little less zeuhl on the menu, an extra helping of Canterbury, and perhaps more than a hint of Änglagård (and other Scandi-prog outfits of the mid-1990s like Sinkadus and Landberk), especially when it comes to the use of vintage-sounding keyboard textures. Maybe it's just because I am a sucker for the particularly melancholic Mellotron moods of that latter influence, but this feels like it really helps take Shamblemaths' sound to the next level.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Shamblemaths. I never would have discovered them if it weren't for Progarchives. Their second album is absolutely great, taking what we know from prog and making it their own. Knucklecog - starts slowly, but has many dynamic shifts. With many references to King Crimson. I recognize snippets o ... (read more)

Report this review (#2737335) | Posted by WJA-K | Thursday, April 14, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After several listens I can say that I do not share the enthusiasm that this album has aroused and that, according to its reviews, it would seem like a must listen. Perhaps this is due to the odious but inevitable comparisons that this album arouses from the first minutes (mainly King Crimson and Al ... (read more)

Report this review (#2672798) | Posted by JohnProg | Sunday, January 16, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What a freaking ride!What's in the Scandinavian water? Seriously, I think the majority of my favourite prog acts from the past 20 years are from Norway and Sweden. Here's another.Wow! What an album this is. It has a winning combination of elements and moods that deliver exactly what I want in th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2656560) | Posted by Michael919 | Wednesday, December 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A modern progressive rock masterpiece. Shamblemaths utilizes influence from King Crimson in a very musically mature way. Whether it is the use of saxophone for both bombastic instrumentation and atmospheric sections, or the blend of male and female vocals, this record manages to perform amazingly in ... (read more)

Report this review (#2654565) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Tuesday, December 21, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Due to a cascade of euphoric reports on the Internet I decided to listen to this new Norwegian project. Well, to me it sounds like a blend of Anglagard (more experimental second album), King Crimson (avant-garde inspired early Seventies) and Il Balletto Di Bronzo (album Ys, a Classic Italian Pro ... (read more)

Report this review (#2637326) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Friday, November 26, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Shamblemaths - Shamblemaths II This album truly left me speechless! Easily my album of the year, and I'm definitely excited for anything this duo does next. This album borrows heavily from King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator. There's heavy use of saxophone, and female vocals appear momentari ... (read more)

Report this review (#2636563) | Posted by Maw The Void | Wednesday, November 24, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, this surprised me out of the blue! What a great album! I didn't know this band. Just stumbled across it out of the blue here in PA, and seeing this album with such a high rating, I was compelled to listen to it immediately. Of course, now I understand the rating! Norway is becoming one o ... (read more)

Report this review (#2636365) | Posted by Argentinfonico | Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great. I accidentally hit the back button and lost my entire review. I'm going to do a shortened version. This is definitely the best record of 2021 in my opinion. It has great melodies, amazing musicality and musicianship. Standouts would be Knucklecog and This River. The first being a bombasti ... (read more)

Report this review (#2635395) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Friday, November 19, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Shamblemaths are a band that I discovered until I checked the top albums of 2021. This band is heavily unknown, unfortunately, and I say unfortunately because they're seriously amazing. Being mostly an eclectic progressive rock band that adds hints of jazz fusion in their music, Shamblemaths provide ... (read more)

Report this review (#2634900) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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