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MIRTHKON

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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miRthkon biography
miRthkon hails from Oakland, California, and plays what they describe as "an inimitable blend of quirky prog rock, avant-garde jazz, contemporary classical abstraction, thrash metal, and an uncanny pop accessibility that defies categorization". The band was founded by guitarist/vocalist Wally Scharold in the late 1990s; while existing in some incarnation of some sort for well over a decade, it was not until 2005 that the core lineup (Sharold, guitarist Rob Pumpelly, bassist Nat Hawkes, drummer Dickie Ogden, and multi-reedist Carolyn Walter) came together for a heavy gigging rotation throughout the Bay Area. An EP, The Illusion of Joy, was released in September 2006. They were shortly thereafter signed to AltrOck Productions (home of Italian avant-prog outfit Yugen), and soon began work on their first full-length album Vehicle, which was released in May 2009. The current lineup now features Matt Guggemos on drums and Jamison Smeltz playing alto and baritone saxes, as well as vocals.

(portions taken from bio/press release from mirthkon.com).

miRthkon official website

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Buy MIRTHKON Music


VehicleVehicle
Import
2009
Audio CD$19.89
$18.98 (used)
Snack(s)Snack(s)
Import
AltrOck
Audio CD$22.99
SNACK(S)SNACK(S)
MARQUEE
Audio CD$56.97 (used)

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MIRTHKON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MIRTHKON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 100 ratings
Vehicle
2009
3.74 | 61 ratings
Snack(s)
2013

MIRTHKON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
(format) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2012

MIRTHKON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.71 | 5 ratings
(format)
2012

MIRTHKON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MIRTHKON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
miRthkon
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
ruth.bikula phaze.iv˙
2001
4.33 | 6 ratings
The Illusion of Joy
2006

MIRTHKON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Snack(s) by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.74 | 61 ratings

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Snack(s)
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars This time I'll start this review in a bit different way, I'll start talking about the booklet of the new miRthkon album, Snack(s) (2013). Why? - you would ask. Simply because it's such a unique idea where each page has a kind of sweets (like Mars, Twix, etc) that represents the songs as in a catalogue. Great idea that you'll have to hold in your own hands to get the whole idea!

Now, coming back to the music, miRthkon is an American band that was formed in the late 90's and that plays some really adventurous Avant Prog. The septet is formed by Wally Scharold (vocals, guitars, keyboards and percussion), Matt Guggemos (drums), Travis Andrews (guitars), Carolyn Walter (flutes, clarinet and saxophones), Jamison Smeltz (saxophones) and Matt Lebofsky (bass, vocals, keyboards and percussion).

Snack(s) (2013) was released by the Italian label AltrOck and they once again present us with a high quality album! The whole idea behind Snack(s) (2013) is simple: be crazy! Yes, that's pretty much it! But that's exactly why bands like miRthkon are interesting, they go out of the 'box' of the conventional music but with good ideas and songs that were clearly worked through with a high amount of rehearsal. Not just some Jazz Fusion thing that doesn't go anywhere! The intro 'QXP-13 Space Modulator' (that is a re-recording from their second album) and the crazy lyrical idea for 'Eat A Bag Of Dix' prove my whole point!

While 'Hapax Legomena' is clearly influenced by Weather Report, 'Nocturne, Op.33' is exactly what the name suggests, a classical piece with a modern approach to it! 'The Cascades' is the part of a heavier side of the band with great guitars and a very weird riff! 'Snack(s) ' The Song!' has a great and strange rhythm followed by claps and some really nice vocals that fit the band's sound. Very heavy too!

'Osedax' is calmer than the rest of the album and has the strangest lyrics ever about a female tubeworm! Next two songs, 'Mymaridae' (also a re-recording from their second album) and 'Variety Pack' follow the same path of calmer pieces of 'Osedax' and they have some unusual chords sequences. As the cherry on the cake that is Snack(s) (2013) we have something even more unusual, a version for Black Sabbath's 'Fairies Wear Boots'. As expected this is one of the weirdest versions ever, but also insanely good!

Snack(s) (2013) is a perfect album for those in search of a new and good Avant Prog record! One more excellent (and challenging) delivery from AltrOck Productions! Recommended!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Snack(s) by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.74 | 61 ratings

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Snack(s)
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

5 stars Four years after bursting onto the scene with their debut, Vehicle, MiRthkon are back with their sophomore release, Snack(S). The band features dual guitars, bass, drums, and dual horn section (saxophones, clarinet, flute). The line up has changed a bit from their debut. Wally, Matt, Carolyn & Jamison remain, adding Travis Andrews on guitar & Matt Lebofsky (also of Secret Chiefs 3 & MoeTar) on Bass. Matt guested on the debut.

The album continues the development of the band, they have a darker heavier sound than their debut without losing the quirky zaniness that was a major feature of Vehicle. The 'advertising' clips aren't featured this time round but there's still plenty of fun in the music. They really don't sound like anyone else which is part of the appeal, they have the complexity of a Miriodor with the switch to heaviness coming out of nowhere.

The most recognizable element of their sound is the dual horn section featuring Carolyn Walter & Jamison Smeltz. They play a variety of wind instruments and their interplay is really the bedrock of the bands sound.

A highly enjoyable album closes with a terrific version of Black Sabbath's Fairies Wear Boots. Highly recommended for anyone enjoying the modern resurgence of the Avant/RIO scene.

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 (format) by MIRTHKON album cover DVD/Video, 2012
4.71 | 5 ratings

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(format)
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by llettingo

5 stars "Mirthkon (Format): The Science Experiment That Went Horribly...Right."

Author: eric Professional Critic? / Writer?: No / No

5 of My Favorite Bands/Films/Whatever: Kayo Dot, The Season Standard, Time of Orchids, Steely Dan,and yes - Mirthkon.

Into Right Now: Schnaak-Collossis, Za!, Dead Rider, Free Salamander Exhibit

Quick Qualification: I've long felt that all critiques/write-ups should begin with the above. It's a relevance thing - a tool to qualify the writer's statements by your own values. Rock on.

About Mirthkon - The Video (format):

This is the best musically centered film I've seen. It's better than great. It's truly outstanding. Even if the music is not your thing, the biting wit is exceptional with fun insight to the personalities of the band members. Although if the music is not your thing, you're in for a long watch. While no connoisseur of indie music films, I've seen larger budget staples like The Wall, Hedwig, etc., and a bunch of lesser known stuff - but (format) is by far my favorite. Viewer beware.

A lot of work went into this full-length effort. It is beyond thoughtful. There are probably hundreds of entertaining tidbits to discover throughout born of both the lighthearted and hints of the pissed off. I watched it 2.5 times so far (wife stated it's not appropriate for 3 year old son) and look forward to a lifetime more.

What I love about this film is the same thing I love about Mirthkon's music: It's the real deal - unabashedly intelligent in approach, content, and (ehem) mirth. Ever experience that disconnect when, as a fan of an artist's music, you see them in action for the first time and their focus seems different than their music's style or content? (IE "Lick My Love Pump".) That doesn't happen here. It's rare to see this much work result in such an appropriate projection of the music. It really succeeds in being the visible incarnation of the music's intent - or so it comes across to this common reviewer.

Progressive music (forgive the gross over-generalization / under-subgenre) does seem to receive the lion's share of accusations such as "Self-Indulgent", "Snobbish", and whatever other terms folks feel deprives them of their entitled sense of preferred entertainment. Well, they won't feel considered here. This struck me as a project of genuine preferred expression minus typical baseless attitude. No pandering about it. Their art. Their time. Their money, effort, & interests with no compromise for general approval or monetary reimbursement (please tell everyone, buy multiple copies, and prove me wrong). I aspire to accomplish so much in this lifetime. But that's not to say there's no effort to entertain: It's just unrepentantly dry and smart. I burst out laughing numerous times throughout. Combined with such overly-outstanding music, I'm hard pressed to think of what offering could be better.

For those who love complex, uber-talented rock: Mirthkon's (format) is a music film benchmark. For those who prefer their video content obvious, shocking, or spoon fed and their music soothing, booty-shaking, or even just 4/4: This is worth challenging yourself if only to expand your familiarity of the possible. Fan or not; for anyone brave enough to brace themselves for more: I recommend this film and band highly.

PS: And if you want a memorable treat, don't miss them live next time they tour through. I've personally seen music icons shake their heads, smiling & muttering "Damn!" at the spectacle that is this stuff performed live. Enjoy.

Much love from CA.

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The promise of yet another new RIO-styled avant rock group coming from the US is enough to get any avant-prog fan excited, so my first being aware of miRthkon (that is how they spell their brand) whetted some excitement in me. The opportunity to hear yet another up-and- coming act that could promise the future of avant-prog was too enticing for me to resist.

So, I turn on the album and I am immediately hit with a silly spoof of a car commercial. I have to admit, "Congratulations" is very well done; the humour is quite sharp and effective. That humour translates directly into "Banana", and the promises VEHICLE had before seem to be coming true. A true avant-prog song where I can tell the band had fun recording the track, and it has a memorable theme to boot. As far as instrumental joy, "Flashbulb of Orgasm", "Automaton" and "Zhagurk" have plenty of it with complex flair that fits the avant- prog theme well.

But then something happens on "Kharm's Way", and the balloon tears and starts fizzling. And it keeps fizzling until "Camelopardis" comes and fixes it. This is when I realised the startling comparisons between the sound here and French TV. Both bands have the same fatal flaw: the music is simply TOO complicated.

The complexity shouldn't sound like the Achilles heel of a prog band, but that's exactly why VEHICLE sputters in the middle of the album. We get top-heavy woodwinds that play notes that sound like cheat codes for video games, metally rhythms underneath that sound like if SGM ate Magma, and an overall meh feeling after the songs are over. Complex themes and avant sensibilities work well when there's a lilt that the listener can remember, and I can't find one memorable note from the crater of tracks in the middle. It's as if complexity is the fuel for this VEHICLE, and it won't run unless there's copious amounts of it in its system.

Also, miRthkon never takes a break from the hyperactive complexity. There's never any sort of calm moment for the listener to catch up as if the complexity just runs away from the listener as if they want to beat him/her at something. To pull in an example from a rival avant-prog band, Make a Rising has a crazy opening to their INFINITE ELLIPSE album called ''Sneffels Yokul'', but right after, they bring the pace down a bit in a simple piano- based tune in ''All One or None''. These calms and dynamic level drops give the listener some space and can allow him/her time to adjust to what's going on. They're meant for the listener to breathe a bit between the crazy parts; there's barely a moment here where the music relaxes for a few moments. It stinks that an album with so much musical potential is dragged down by a theoretical concept, but with everything being too hyper-complex, songs seem to blend into each other in a very nondescript way.

But the worst of the lot is the singing on "Coven of Coyotes". I'll throw a reminder that on this very album also lies "Banana", a track that hit the humour note very well. Like I said earlier, I could tell that the band had fun recording that "Banana" song. On ''Coven of Coyotes'', that feeling seems to have evaporated. The singing is somehow annoying, the melodies they attempt are too jagged, and there are too many notes the singers are trying to shove in a second in instances. The complexity of the song does not allow the words to be spat out like "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General", but the band attempts that cluttering and the result sounds unnecessarily forced.

Finally, there's "Camelopardis", and it is a great way to cap off the album. Great a solid base with a memorable rhythm and put some woodwinds over the top without over- embellishing any notes. Pure and simple.

miRthkon has every bit of potential to succeed, and if you love unbelievably astounding feats of magnificent complexity with some humourous punch thrown in, you probably should check this album out. But VEHICLE is very flawed, mainly due to the runaway complexity that outsmarts itself at times. The first five tracks as well as "Cameloparids" are great and worthy of platitudes, but the band needs to take a step back and tone the notes down a bit. VEHICLE is filled with many positive attributes of the avant-prog scene, but it tends to carry a good chunk of the baggage as well.

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars The first full-length album from this outfit from Oakland, California. An impressive debut too. The music MiRthkon plays is a combination of Zappaesque jazz-rock and classical-rock mixed with modern chamber rock and avant-metal. If you can imagine a clashing of Zappa, Mr. Bungle and Univers Zero then you get an idea of what this album sounds like. These guys are on the more humourous end of avant-prog while still having lots of chops and complexity. This might appeal to fans of bands such as Miriodor and Yugen. The instrumentation includes the usual guitars, drums, keyboards along with a host of wind instruments including sax and piccolo.

The album begins with a parody of a car commercial called "Congratulations." This is excellently done and convincing until the music gets more Zappaesque and dramatic while the narrator starts talking like it's the end of the world. "Flashbulb Of Orgasm" is great jazzy avant-metal (or is that metallic avant-jazz?). "Banana" has vocals and is a bouncy little ditty for the most part. Not a highlight but it stands out. "Kharms Way" goes into a terrific groove about halfway after a few minutes of Zappaesque avant-rock. Some beautiful subdued piano playing at the end as someone does their best Tom Brokaw impression along with some symphonic synths. "Daddylonglegz" has interesting counterpoint between the wind instruments. Some Zappa-meets-Zeuhl vocals at one point. The bass really stands out in this track.

"Coven Of Coyotes" at least initially sounds like early (1980's) Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is interesting as that band had a song called "True Men Don't Kill Coyotes" on their first album. Then it gets a lot jazzier with some call-and-response vocals. Like "Banana" this is not a highlight but it stands out. Sped-up Zappa style avant-rock to end it. "Johnny Yen" is more manic and unpredictable in a Naked City fashion. Mellows out more in the middle. A melody gets repeated over and over with some almost random drumming. "Bappsciliophuaega" (say that five times fast!) starts out as avant-funk-rock then evolves into avant-jazz-metal. At the end you hear a sample from a 1980s Eddie Murphy movie where he talks about putting a banana in a tailpipe. I can't remember what movie that is, I think it's either Beverly Hills Cop or 48 Hours.

"Trishna" is one of the more interesting and varied songs. Lots going on here and not just avant-jazz-metal (although there is lots of that too). One part has some crazy stereo panning. "Honey Key Jamboree" is in the vein of "Banana" and "Coven." Upbeat vocal song that sounds very different from the instrumentals. Featuring some Zappa style harmony backup vocals and occasional disco beats. Also featuring a *very* Zappa sounding guitar solo. "The Black Fruit" is dark and moody chamber prog similar to Univers Zero/Present. You hear a fire alarm go off at one point which adds to the music. After the alarm the track goes into dissonant avant-rock/noise-rock territory. Probably the most difficult and challenging part of the album.

Near the end you hear the lovely New Age music of the opening mock car ad again. The narrator here makes some deadpan sarcastic comments. The last and longest song "Camelopardalis" changes frequently and holds your attention throughout. You hear everything from a funeral march to funky bass playing here. Overall this is a great debut effort from this group. I like the sound of the bass and the bass playing in general but think the distorted metal guitar sound is a little over used; would have been better with a wider variety of tones. Just a minor problem though as this is some good stuff. 4 stars.

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars Definitely a perfect match for the AltrOck posse, the thicker, jazzier side of Avant/RIO. I hear lots of ZAPPA and 70s avant jazz (BILL LASWELL/MATERIAL, Pangaea Records, DON PULLEN, KIP HANRAHAN, ARTO LINDSAY, ASTOR PIAZZOLLA), JOHN ZORN, BILL FRISELL, FRED FRITH, UNIVERS ZERO, and even a little KING CRIMSON ("Trishna") and STEELY DAN! ("Honey Key Jamboree"). Intricate, sometimes dense, amusing and entertaining avant jazz, this is a music that definitely stands in opposition to rock and roll and mainstream radio "pop" music. If and when you're in the right mood, this is fun music--great for the thinking listener. This will not, I'm sure, be everybody's cup of tea, but, if you pick up a guitar, kazoo or percussion instrument and try to play along I guarantee you'll not only have fun but you'll probably sound good! (Which makes me wonder how well the band does in replicating its studio music on stage.) 3.5 stars: skilled performances and daring compositions that will, I fear, not appeal to many outside of the Avant/RIO crowd. If you seek melody, you should probably avoid this record. If skilled, but unusual musical structures intrigue you, this would be worth checking out.

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Todd
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano!

4 stars I have to add my endorsement of this amazing album. Please read the above three reviews, and they reflect my thoughts and feelings precisely. I listen to a lot of new progressive rock-- usually at least a new album every day--and most of them promptly get lost in the depths of my Zune, rarely to resurface. This is an exception--just a phenomenal album, with so many twists and turns and stops and starts, you just never know where the album is going next. And it's such a pleasure to discover where they're taking you. So just purchase the miRthkon Vehicle, and enjoy the crazy ride!

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Congratulations! With your purchase of a miRthkon Vehicle, you have joined the ranks of an elite class of enlightened consumer!

When a band starts their debut album such self-applauding dialogue, even cleverly masked as the faceless voice of a company called miRthkon congratulating you on the purchase of one of their products (a vehicle), that band better deliver! But by the time the first track has finished playing, slowly descending from the typical corporate jargon to cleverly implying that the miRthkon Vehicle is best enjoyed as the details slowly reveal themselves to you, and ultimately putting the fate of the universe (re: the band) in the listeners hands, they have proven their worth as entertainers. At the same time, they slowly build the intensity of the song, so that by the time that Flashbulb of Orgasm (whatever that means) explodes onto the scene, the listeners is (somewhat) prepared. As prepared as one could be the first that this jammy/ jazzy/ heavy/ chugging track bursts out through their speakers, anyways.

Again and again throughout the album, miRthkon impresses. Armed with very agressive reeds coming from Carolyn Walter, Jamison Smeltz as well as a small army of guests, the band rarely has to rely on the guitars to create a heavy sound, although the guitars often come through loud and crunchy. At the same time, the playfulness of the music is never absent, and the bands sense of humour arises again and again. Pretty much any dialogue on this album is guaranteed to elicit laughter, be they the ridiculous lyrics to Banana (he's got a banana, it looks like a gun, the other bananas are on the run), the amusing lyrics to Honey Key Jamboree (Here's a story about some bees that like to boogie), or the return of the corporate vocals at the end of The Black Fruit with perhaps the most cleverly biting attack on corporations I've heard in a while (A company that tells it's customers what it's customers tell the company it's customers want to hear).

All this is part of a massive concept that the music only hints at; the most direct insight being in the track, a Coven of Coyotes, which demonstrates the meeting of La Veldreaux and Kleighroi, two of the characters in the labyrinthine plot the band has devised. Coven of Coyotes also features back and forth dialogue more typical of a musical than of a rock and roll concept album, and I enjoy it immensely, especially given that the dialogue here is no less entertaining than anything else throughout the album.

Meanwhile, the music changes gear at the drop of a note, features some highly complex interactions between the instruments, and without getting so lost in showing off that there isn't something interesting for the user to grasp on to. (In fact, there are often various different aspects of the music that the listener could listen to an enjoy). It almost feels as if this is not miRthkon's debut; this feels more like their Close to the Edge than their Yes. A little research on the bands website reveals that this is partially true; music for this album has existed in various stages for ten years (looking at their early releases, miRthkon and Ruth-Bikula Phaze, one can see early versions of tracks such as Daddylonglegz and Coven of Coyotes dating as far back as '99) and this album was being recorded for about four years. So although this may be the bands first full album release, these ideas have existed and, presumably, been worked upon for ten years now.

And at the end of it all, it is we, the listener, who get to enjoy this medley of complex, hilarious, and entertaining music, all at the reasonable price of one disc. It can only lead us to hope two things: that it won't be ten years until the next album, and that miRthkon will be able to create something at least half as good as this was. If so, I know they'll have a lot of happy listeners.

Side note: The album art for this album is also superb, from an amusing page that includes the "history" of the letter R, to the detailed story hidden behind the disc in the jewel case (have a magnifying glass ready, that text is tiny but well worth the time to read!), the packaging has received as much love as the music contained within.

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I think it was SaltyJon's 63rd mention of this album on this site before I finally took the bait. Okay i'm exagerating big time here but i'm thankful "The Salty One" did mention this album several times as being one of his favs because I took notice.These guys are from Oakland, Calfornia and they bring Zappa and MIRIODOR to mind because of their zany and freakishly good "stop on a dime" style of play.This is quite heavy at times with the dual guitars, bass, drums and horns all bringing it at once in a very intense way. I had the pleasure of listening to this late Saturday afternoon on a trip up North to get my daughter who was camping. It was sunny and my drive was releaxing but if anyone could here what was blasting away in my vehicle they would be shocked.

The album opens with a funny spoken word piece called "Congratulations !" about the benifits of buying a Mirthkon vehicle. "Flashbulb Of Orgasm" is fantastic with the odd- metered drumming and dissonant horns. "Banana" opens with vocals before the music gets intense, then it settles back as the contrasts continue. Some heavy guitar after 2 minutes and it ends with experimental sounds. "Automation" is such a good tune. Nice bass early as the song seems to take it's time. Some intensity 2 minutes in and 3 1/2 minutes in before a calm ends it. "Zhagunk" has some powerful outbursts throughout. Heavy duty before after 3 minutes. Cat sounds (yes cat sounds) end it along with a crashing noise. "Kharms Way" has lots of tempo shifts in it. Incredible sound 2 1/2 minutes in then it turns dark before kicking back in. A calm with piano and spoken words 6 minutes in.

"Daddylonglegz" is a catchy tune. Check out the bass 1 1/2 minutes in and the horns. Amazing track ! Crickets end it and coyote howls as it blends into "Coven Of Coyotes".This is intricate and powerful.Vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. Funny stuff. Coyotes are back late followed by experimental sounds. "Johnny Yen" hits the ground running but it's the contrasts that impress me the most. "Bappsciliophauega" is once again an incredible display of talent. Powerful with horns which get dissonant after 3 minutes with percussion. Funny spoken words end it. "Trishna" is intense and powerful. Enough said. Okay there is a calm with flute at one point. Enough said again. "Honey Key Jamboree" is very Zappa-like with vocals. Some killer guitar too that goes on and on. Nice. "The Black Fruit" is kind of dark and eerie as most black fruits tend to be. It kicks into gear before settling again.The spoken words with piano are hilarious. "Camelopardalis" has a nice heavy sound before a minute. Horns then lead.The tempo continues to shift and we get some organ in this one too. Love the dissonance late.

Just a brilliant album in every way. 4.5 stars.

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 Vehicle by MIRTHKON album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.97 | 100 ratings

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Vehicle
miRthkon RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by SaltyJon
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The fate of the universe is in your hands! GO, NOW!!!!!!!

Of course, I'm talking about going to wherever you generally order music from, because this is an amazing album by an equally amazing band. With Vehicle, miRthkon has provided us with a veritable melting pot of genres, styles, and a very healthy dose of humor. They even have a song about Bananas, which seems to be a pretty popular thing with prog musicians. Seriously though, these guys do the whole "genre-bending" thing better than any other band I've listened to who are supposed masters of it. The music is generally on the heavy side, with a lot of jazz sensibilities thrown in. A big chunk of the album is instrumental, with only a few of the songs having vocals. Those that do are generally really fun, though, and include the previously mentioned song about bananas, "Banana", "Coven of Coyotes", and "Honey Key Jamboree". The vocals are playful and just a bit bizarre, with the last song there really reminding me of something Zappa would do. Sometimes throughout the album we're treated to the funny spoken word parts, almost a sort of narration to help carry along the story of the album. My favorite of these is the miRthkon company motto, which comes later on in the album - really fun wordplay going on here, always makes me chuckle when I hear it. The instrumentals on this song, as mentioned, are often genre-bending of the highest degree. They're just as playful as the vocals a lot of the time, and the titles of them fit well for a lot of the songs...for example, "Zhagunk". The beginning of the song really sounds like that to me, has every time I've listened to it. Amazing all around, really.

This is one of the few times I'll mention the packaging of the album as well. The booklet and even the back insert of the case both help along with the story of the album/band. The back insert has a rather long story in rather tiny writing, plus a hidden message for you to find if you look for it. The booklet has some funny little bits of art/related material to go along with most of the songs, too.

Overall, this is an album that is deserving of my highest praises. I'm not generally a fan of the genre-benders, but these guys do it so well you can't help but love their music. It's a fun, non-stop ride from beginning to end.

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Thanks to padraic for the artist addition.

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