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PLASMA

Ikarus

Zeuhl


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Ikarus Plasma album cover
4.28 | 18 ratings | 3 reviews | 39% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2022

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tritium (7:47)
2. Isblink (7:30)
3. Sessapinae (9:57)
4. Cocoro (6:54)
5. Altaelva (7:27)

Total Time 39:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Anna Hirsch / vocals
- Andreas Lareida / vocals
- Lucca Fries / piano
- Mo Meyer / bass
- Ramón Oliveras / drums

Releases information

Recorded July 2021 at Fattoria Musica Osnabrück
Published by Ronin Rhythm Productions & Neonstars Publishing
Artwork by Margo Sanda
Visual Development by Lukasz Polowcyzk

Thanks to Nogbad_The_Bad for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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IKARUS Plasma ratings distribution


4.28
(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
39%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (11%)
11%

IKARUS Plasma 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 Vocal-centric jazz-rock combo from Switzerland. This is their fourth studio album release and second since singer Anna Hirsch replaced Stefanie Suhner after 2016's Chronosome release.

1. "Tritium" (7:47) muted piano strings being struck directly are joined by hand percussives and then two voices, female and male, making nasal and throat sounds with odd embouchures. Sounds a bit like North Sea Radio Orchestra. Then there is a shift in percussion instruments (with hi-hat) and vocals with Anna and Andreas taking on more primal vocal sounds and melody lines, woven within each other. In the fifth minute the music shifts beneath the vocal weave to become more 1980s PAT METHENY GROUP jazz like: piano, double bass, and drums taking much more prominent rolls. Anna and Andreas' voices begin to morph into sustained, floating melody lines for a couple of minutes before sliding back into more percussive sounds in the final minute and then finishing with a rousing jazzy weave for the finish. Very cool and unexpected! (13.5/15)

2. "Isblink (7:30) syncopated piano note is joined by Andreas before rest of band joins in, establishing a gently forward-rolling rhythm with like gentle melodies and more harmonic vocal structures. Very pretty and different than the other songs on the album. A gentler, interlude-kind of passage passes a minute or so at the end of the third minute before the vocal-less band reestablishes the baseline with muted piano and thickly warbling double bass low end up front and center. The only time on the album in which the three instrumentalists are left alone, with Anna and Andreas sitting back and observing. Simply mesmerizing! And when A & A rejoin it is so gently, as if to only embellish not to disturb or disrupt. Beautiful. At 6:30, however, the vocals move front and attention with an entirely new dual sound structure, pushing the other instruments to the back--which is how the song moves to its conclusion. My second favorite song on the album. (14.5/15)

3. "Sessapinae" (9:57) protracted jazz-rock Minimalism in the Paul Winter Consort domain with two voices substituting for instruments. Not enough change and dynamic tension or change in the first half. Great final three minutes: the vocals get very raw and primal. (17.5/20)

4. "Cocoro (6:54) opens with two vocalists playfully weaving a Bobby McFerrin-like sounds within the drums, bass, and piano lines. This is an exercise in control and rhythmic discipline--perhaps even polyphony. A shift at the end of the second minute sees the vocal weave falling into a more chord-like fullness with piano. It's pretty, kind of like a HUGO SELLES (PSYCHIC EQUALIZER) song. The interplay among the instrumentalists turns a little more staccato in the fifth minute before everyone comes back together for the harmonic convergence for the final two minutes. I'm also reminded of Burt Bacharach and (13.25/15)

5. "Altaelva (7:27) piano chords and two voices open as if unsynchronized bells ringing in a bell tower. At the one-minute mark they are joined by double bass and drums. Very cool! Then, at the end of the second minute, things slow down, bowed bass and Anna moving into lower registers as piano and Andreas continue their syncopated rhythm steadfastly before returning to the full panoply in the fourth minute. The piano begins to fill out its chordal spectrum as Andreas and Anna slowly move into different variations of their deliveries. Great left-hand piano chords before backing off into muted percussive chords in the sixth minute. And then such a great finish! My favorite song on the album; simply genius. (15/15)

Total Time ? 39:35

The music reminds me of Japanese Post Rock band TOE with a more Math Rock/MAGMA approach to the wordless vocals. Anna Hirsch's polished voice reminds me so much of that of singer MELODY FERRIS from Bay Area band Inner Ear Brigade. It still amazes me that I just listened to a vocally dominant album that contained absolutely no words!

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music though closer to a masterpiece in the chamber jazz rock or jazz-rock fusion sub-genres. Ikarus are one of my favorite discoveries of 2022; can't wait to dig back into their discography.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Taking flight for the fourth time like the Greek god of its namesake, the Swiss jazz outfit IKARUS has impressed the avant-jazz underworld for some seven years now since it's debut "Echo" showcased a new style of musical cross-pollination. The 2015 first offering displayed a firm command of and interesting hybrid of modern classical in the vein of Bartok with a chamber music sensibility defined by Arvo Pärt's multi-vocalist group weaving. Add to that the bubbling zeuhl rhythms of classic prog acts like Magma and Zoo and IKARUS succeeded in delivering something new and unexpected to the massive market of fringe jazz that lies in that gray area between the world of jazz, the world of classical as well as progressive rock.

PLASMA is the band's fourth release following "Chronosome" and "Mosaismic" and continues the stylistic approach crafted on the debut. Defined as a mix of post-minimalism, zeuhl and avant-garde jazz, IKARUS employs the sparse instrumentation of piano, bass and drums along with the dueling divas Anna Hirsch and Andreas Lareida who implement wordless vocals like seaworthy sirens summoning who knows what to seduce your senses into an ethereal entanglement! And yes, it works quite well indeed! Consisting of five tracks and a running time of just under 40 minutes, PLASMA is indeed a musical equivalent of the substance that stubbornly sits out of the three better known phases of matter: gases, liquids and solids.

Instrumentally speaking IKARUS' approach is to employ the tones and timbres of a jazz group while compositionally speaking evoking 20th century classical maestros. Rhythmically it's all set to zeuhl mode with the wordless vocals eerily haunting in their procession evoking the mysteries of an equivalent of Kobaian folklore and therefore is one of the few modern zeuhl based bands that succeeds in crafting an alienating hypnotic effect in the vein of classic Magma and given there are no guitars to be heard doesn't really feel like there are any rock aspects to be heard at all. What is experienced falls much more into the world of jazz with a thundering bass line constantly present but the intricate vocal lines are what transcend this musical experience into something that breaks the musical flow from the gravitational pull of any known genres.

"Tritium" opens with a more Earthly mood setting as the vocal patterns evoke calls from a lost African tribe therefore the connection to the home planet are expressed in dynamic form but as the album precedes the IKARUS takes flight and develops an airy feel as it sheds any expectations or connections to jazz, rock or classical yet never feeling over-alienating or too avant-garde for its own good. The beauty of the zeuhl rhythms is that they add an element of instant accessibility whereas the other elements take bold steps in decorating the musical motifs with crazy time signature patterns, oddball syncopation and vocal gymnastics. Like all IKARUS releases it's a tightrope act of an underlying rhythmic flow and the dynamic tensions of juxtaposing various grooves and elements that often threaten to derail the entire process. Luckily that never happens!

IKARUS is a strange chimera indeed as it seems to be too jazzy for many prog rockers and not jazzy enough to please the jazz purists but for those seeking something that defies all the silly genre boxes then this is definitely a worthy investment of your precious life-force as this quintet has certainly latched onto something original and completely out of the box and not only is this unique but well executed! There's not really a lot to distinguish the four albums of IKARUS however PLASMA feels a bit lighter and less ominous than previous endeavors. Overall this is an excellent slice of accessible avant-garde jazz/rock/classical music and will surely please the adventurous musical souls out there who grave interesting new interpretations with the world of avant-jazz, avant-prog and minimalist classical. At times even sounds a bit like Philip Glass!

Latest members reviews

4 stars My first review of this Swiss minimalist jazz rock group. The album contains elements of Zeuhl tropes - mainly an eerie ambience and the lyricless scatty vocal style, in five atmospheric tracks that do quite a lot with very little instrumentation, almost linking to ambient / post rock styles as ... (read more)

Report this review (#2945732) | Posted by bartymj | Tuesday, August 15, 2023 | Review Permanlink

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