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NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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North Sea Radio Orchestra biography
North Sea Radio Orchestra are an experimental chamber group whose sound draws heavily on elements of British folk, orchestral music (both classical and contemporary) and art rock. They are primarily a vehicle for the compositions of Craig Fortnam, with his wife Sharron Fortnam on lead vocals (sometimes accompanied by The North Sea Chorus). They are a primarily acoustic ensemble, featuring strings, woodwind, acoustic guitar, organ, piano and percussion as well as prominent use of analog synths.

Often cited influences include Benjamin Britten, Vaughn Williams, Tim Smith (of Cardiacs) and the much-loved British children's television composer Vernon Elliot, whose work NSRO have occasionally played during special concerts. They have also been compared to the likes of Frank Zappa, Henry Cow, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Kate Bush and Neu!.

Lyrically, their first two albums consist mainly of settings of texts by pre-modernist English poets such as Yeats, Blake, Tennyson and Chaucer. Their third album, I a moon, differs from their previous releases by featuring lyrics of a more personal and introspective nature written by Craig and Sharron Fortnam.

North Sea Radio Orchestra are a unique and irrepressibly English force in contemporary music and their carefully balanced blend of folk, chamber and psychedelic sounds ought to enchant any open-minded prog fan.

North Sea Radio Orchestra official website

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North Sea Radio OrchestraNorth Sea Radio Orchestra
Import
2006
Audio CD$10.58
BirdsBirds
Import
PID 2008
Audio CD$36.50 (used)
I a MoonI a Moon
DOMINO PUBLISHING
Audio CD$26.99
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NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA discography


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NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
North Sea Radio Orchestra
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Birds
2008
3.99 | 67 ratings
I a moon
2011

NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
The Flower
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
End of Chimes
2007

NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by schizoidman

4 stars Although North Sea Radio Orchestra is in the Prog Folk sub-genre to me they are an archetypal Chamber Prog band. While this album as a whole is not a 5 star (Essential) work it most certainly does contain 5 star material in certain individual songs.

5 stars Material:

"Morpheus Miracle Maker" - What a beautifully written, played and sung piece of music. To my ears this is an evergreen. A true timeless classic.

"Mitt der Welt" - Exquisitely written and arranged instrumental.

"Morpheus Drone" - A strong Celtic influenced instrumental. Minimal instrumentation but maximum realization of the songs greatness.

"Ring Moonlets" - What a lovely tune. A simple song but simplicity can often be a great thing.

Now, to the 4 stars or less Material:

"Guitar Miniature #3" is a very nice piece but it's no "Mood for a Day". 4 stars

"I a moon"....doesn't work for me. 3 stars

"Heavy Weather" is a very interesting piece that almost made the 5 stars but the melodies are not quite strong enough. 4 stars

"Berliner Luft" ....same as "Heavy Weather". 4 stars

"The Earth Beneath Our Feet".... same as "Heavy Weather". 4 stars

"When Things Fall Apart"....same as "Heavy Weather". 4 stars

All of the above is, of course, strictly In My Opinion. So, to conclude, the album gets 4 strong stars and it contains quite a bit of 5 star material.

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Quite the buzz going around for this band so I thought i'd jump on the wave and check out their latest "I A Moon". They are a British Folk / Chamber ensemble consisting of many members (10 are listed here) playing strings, horns and pretty much everything else. We get male and female vocals. Now I must admit everything i've described so far would cause me to approach with caution, not being into Folk or to a lesser extent Chamber music. My first listen was a disappointment. So I thought maybe it was just over-hyped but after many, many listens this just clearly isn't for me.

"Morpheus Miracle Maker" is without question my favourite. The Kate Bush-like vocals especially before 4 minutes are just too appealing and it is quite catchy. "I A Moon" is almost silly sounding with vocals. Maybe wimsical is the word. "Guitar Miniature #3" is a short piece with acoustic guitar melodies throughout. "Heavy Weather" is light with piano and male vocals. Female vocals come in as they continue to trade off. Strings before 1 1/2 minutes then vocals and piano lead again as themes are repeated. "Berliner Luft" opens with horns then strummed guitar and a PINEAPPLE THIEF-like sound takes over. That changes unfortunately when the horns return. Strings after 3 1/2 minutes.

"Morpheus Drone" sounds like wind-chimes and strings. "The Earth beneath Our Feet" continues with the chimes and strings then acoustic guitar and vocals follow. "Ring Moonlets" sounds like a toy keyboard and more in this instrumental that i'm not a fan of. "When Things Fall Apart" is vocals and piano mostly with strings before 3 minutes. "Mitte Der Welt" is mostly intricate sounds as strings join in.

Just not a fan of this style but it's certainly worth 3 stars.

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Orchestrated, Intelligent Beauty

I love prog. I love folk. Sadly, very few albums actually meld the two successfully. I A MOON is one of those albums. I blundered into this album by random sampling of other PA member's best of 2011 lists. What a pleasant surprise this was!!! North Sea Radio Orchestra melds modern folk ideas a la Espers and folds in classical / medieval styling a la Gryphon and creates a sound that surpasses both of those wonderful bands.

The basic sound here is chamber rock a la Aranis. Tightly composed, classical at heart. Counterpoint, traditional harmony, multi-part arrangements. Yet so many of the bands from the Univers Zero lineage are so oppressively dark that my tolerance time for that music is limited. Similarly, nu-folk bands also stick so strongly to their trippy verge of insanity vibe at times that have to turn away also. I A MOON treads the balance so well. The lighter ethereal mood balances the more left-brain compositional style, lending that extra emotional interest that I also felt was missing from Gryphon. (Instrumentally, that is probably the closest approximation to this album I have).

NSRO also have a sense of hook that fellow Prog Folkies the Decemberists utilize so well. "Heavy Weather" has a central not-quite-chorus section that sticks with you almost like a pop tune while being somewhat sad in character. On the other hand, "Berliner Luft" is played over a simple drum beat that makes the tune almost a little too dance-y for the context of the album, but certainly broadens the sound of the record. "Morpheus Drone" has a slight raga flavor to it.

Sharron Fortnam's voice, to me, is just right for this music. Unlike, say, Renaissance where the voice overpowers everything, Fortnam fills just the right amount of space in this large ensemble. Her voice is fairly pure-toned with just a hint of frailty that is the signature of Meg Baird and more famously, Jewel. But the emotional affectation is kept to a minimum, used tastefully. Bandleader Craig Fortnam's guitar is clearly the instrument on which these tunes were written, but again there is never anything flashy. Just great mood and skilled composition.

While there's not much rock in this album, there is probably more prog here than any other band in this category. I did go back to compare this to the band's previous release. Though the sound is similar, this is clearly the better work. At first I was a little reluctant giving this 5 stars, but I honestly can't think of any music of this sort that eclipses this. That is, this not only may be the best prog folk album I own, but also the best chamber rock. It holds its own even compared to some of the symphonic giants. Given the many amazing works in those categories, that's saying something. I can't imagine any fan of prog not appreciating this.

One of the best of 2011 indeed.

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars North Sea Radio Orchestra seem to follow the pioneering path forged by The Penguin Café Orchestra (an original band from the murky late 70s until the passing of leader/composer Simon Jeffes in 1997), creating a rather unique form of chamber music, with a strong British folk sense while infusing a myriad of non-rock instruments (viola, oboe, violin, bassoon, clarinet, cello and percussives). But NSRO prefers to focus the musical beacon on a lighthouse of vocals, mostly spewed forth by the delicate voice of Sharron Fortnam and envelop the words with orchestrated wonder. The style is a curious alliance of folk, experimental and classical shadings that espoused a strong sense of reverie and introspection, far removed from bombastic symphonics.

There is a childlike preciousness that permeates the album, highly evident on the opener "Morpheus Miracle Maker" led by leader Craig Fortnam's plucky acoustic guitar, a seductive string section and wifey's mirroring vocals. The puerile adventure continues on the title track, where the wind instruments take the stage, conjuring images of pastoral ebullience and Sunday morning seaside picnics, where the warm solar rays collide with the gusty gales brought in from the North Sea.

A brief "Guitar Miniature #3 "winks at something Ant Phillips would create and then , as Mother Nature likes to dispose, some "Heavy Weather", a vocal duet between Sharron and Craig that is highly suggestive and enduring. The brooding cello announces dark grey clouds on the horizon, moving in on the party at deliberate yet inexorable speed, as suggested by some "weighty" percussion. The sound grows in intensity as the cloud cover slithers in to stay, highlighted by a glorious chorus of "heave-ho, down below we go". A glittering prize of atmospheric amazement this epic piece is!

"Berliner Luft" slowly takes the listener into a more experimental area, a marshalling beat that is Germanic in insistence and very British playfulness in its idiosyncrasy, a jovial synth lead conducting the various players , most definitely a highlight track that deserves recognition. "Morpheus Drone" has almost Celtic overtones, the lone cello blaring sadly in the mist and oozing indescribable emotion, suave, spellbinding and ethereal. Bloody lovely! "The Earth Beneath Our Feet" is another sparkling track, trouble-free and flimsy in its structure, Sharron's voice weaving amid the strings, seemingly content in its exaltation. The true quality of the orchestrations starts to convince beyond just window dressing arrangements and state the depth of the music profoundly, blending words and sound impeccably. Then, abruptly, the mood becomes synthetic on "Ring Moonlets", a swerving synthesizer line toying with the stars, evoking the spirit of Ant Phillips once again, essentially keys and acoustic guitar, no vocals, perhaps my preferred piece here (the end cut notwithstanding).

"When Things Fall Apart" has a piano lead and an angelic voice piercing through the pain, as "the light begins to fall" and the mysterious night appears as expressed by the onset of strings and a sobering drained mood. Lovely stuff!

The glorious instrumental "Mitte der Welt" rejoins the Teutonic electronic style of "Berliner Luft", a fitting finale that puts this album to rest on the highest note possible. A wondrously weaved melody, clarinets to the front, bitte schön! This is pure, unadulterated bliss, a marvelous piece with its hypnotic synth loops and hybrid folk/electronica. Kind sticks to your brain like a prog leech. Amazing!

This is an album that clearly lies beyond the usual prog pale, highly innovative and thus rebellious. For fans who require a strong change of pace and from the previous glowing reviews from non-genre fans(hi, finnforest and memowakeman ) , this is a quintessential slice of modern music.

4.5 lighthouses

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars What a gem!

They are "North Sea Radio Orchestra", a British chamber ensemble who has been together for some years, though I admit this is my first experience with them. What experience I am talking about? Well, this 2011 release entitled "I A Moon", an album whose music is pretty different from one has been listening recently, I mean, here we will find an exquisite blend of chamber music with folk, giving as a result this progressive rock album that has pleased me since the very first time I listened to it. The album contains 10 songs that make a total time of 45 minutes.

It opens with "Morpheus Miracle Maker", a beautiful melody that since the first moments shares charm, a delicate sound easy to love. The voice of Sharron Fontham is splendid, it perfectly complements the soft and gentle music created by acoustic guitar along with bassoon, violin, viola and percussion. What a wonderful opener track. A couple of short pieces come next, first with "I A Moon", where the vocals accompany a soft organ and percussion, later guitar joins and create a pastoral, folk and really loveable sound. They remind me a bit of some Phillip Glass' works. And the second short track is "Guitar Miniature #3", in which as the title suggest, we can listen to a short acoustic guitar piece made by Craig Fontham.

The longest composition is "Heavy Weather" in which Craig's voice is now the lead one, it is stunningly complemented by the whole ensemble's instruments, here we can listen to a delicate piano, a disarming violin, great percussion, and a great bassoon. In the second half of the song it changes, now Sharron's voice is there, working together with piano and violin, creating a beautiful atmosphere in a folk and neo-classical background. After five minutes they build up a more emotional structure, where there is a repetition of words and sound that create an addiction, later the music slows down and it delicately finishes.

"Berliner Luft" starts softly with a Canterbury-like sound, later it changes a little bit where acoustic guitar and percussion joins. The mood here is really passive and joyful, one can easily have a smile while listening to this. I really love how strings, percussion and winds work perfectly together. "Morpheus Drone" is a violin lead track where Brian Wright shows his skills, creating a wonderful atmosphere and a kind of mid-east flavor.

That song leads to "The Earth Beneath Our Feet" in which the violin continues but now with a more disarming sound, after half a minute guitar and viola join and begin to create a new passage with a new atmosphere. A minute later the female voice appears with that special and beautiful sound; the music reminds me a bit of some Karda Estra moments but here with a folkish tendency. "Ring Moonlets" has a smooth and delicate sound, it is a short instrumental track with nice strings and a beautiful background made by organ.

"When things fall apart" continues with the soft and delicate music, full of nuances and textures produced by a great piano, strings and the female voice. It is an adorable piece that will put you very emotional if you allow it. "Mitte der Welt" finishes the album in a wonderful way, this is a repetitive piece with a joyful mood and a vast quantity of colors and elements (better perceived with good headphones). This closing track sums up what North Sea Radio Orchestra's music is about, and believe me, I am very happy.

What a fantastic album is this, I fell lucky of having it and play it every once in a while, I strongly recommend it for any progressive rock fan in general, but more specific for those who want some folk/avant-garde like this. My grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars To paraphrase a classic Seinfeld episode, "you can't just have a little grace, you either have it or you don't". And NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA is the poster child for grace in spades. Luckily their deceptively orchestrated chamber folk is not merely elegant but original, melodic, quirky, varied, and lyrical, among other desirable characteristics. It is all these things yet utterly devoid of artifice or guile.

The album begins with shorter but compelling pieces, introducing the acoustic guitar, orchestra, and analog synths with which the group fashions its singular style. Apart from a certain happy resemblance to KATE BUSH and TERESA DOYLE, they serve as a warm up for the two most progressive and longest tracks, wisely sequenced together: "Heavy Weather" and "Berliner Luft", the first spare, delicate, and harmonious, the second a lively and percussive instrumental which explores an intriguing theme just long enough before moving on to more intricate expressions on winds and strings.

The "Earth Beneath our Feet" begins musically as a hymn before transitioning to a classic 1970s styled singer songwriter feel. CAT STEVENS circa "Mona Bone Jakon" is indeed a more than accurate reference for such profound whimsy, but it is wholly updated and made new again. "Ring Moonlets" is a glistening synthesizer led instrumental with heaps of sprightly acoustic guitar accompaniment. If you like the recent efforts of HOSTSONATEN this could work for you, but to me it is far more magical. "When Things Fall Apart" is another forum for Sharron Fortnam's voice and group dynamics, a gentle piano accompaniment belying a seething emotional release fulfilled in the instrumental back half. The album closes with a minimalist Kraut rock meets Welsh instrumental "Mitte der Welt". That is grace.

If you are seeking a truly original progressive voice in attitude and execution, one minimally suffused with the usual suspect influences yet respectful of them and all that came before, do lend this stunning release your ear. I a Mazed.

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Fantastic! Don't miss this folks

Knocked on my ass once again. Every so often you take a chance on something out of your standard musical habitat and are rewarded. This album was overwhelming to me in the best sense of the word. Magical. Once people hear this album this band is going to be getting a lot of positive reviews here. (Take a listen on Progstreaming if you want to sample the magic immediately).

The North Sea Radio Orchestra (NSRO) is an avant-chamber troupe of musicians led by Craig Fortnam and voiced by his wife Sharron. Using primarily acoustic instruments and influenced by the likes of Tim Smith/Cardiacs, they are a completely unique mixture of chamber music, avant-garde, folk music, and some have noted psych and Kraut although certainly not in any heavy sense. Personally when I listened the references which sprung into my cranium were Joanna Newsom, Vashti Bunyan, Decemberists, and Gatto Marte. I even heard a little Zappa at one point. They cut their teeth early on by playing in churches, not only for the great acoustics, but because they wanted an audience more interesting in listening than drinking/talking. I really sympathize; it drives me nuts that people can't shut up for an hour when live musicians are trying to perform for them.

Their new album 'I a Moon' from the summer of 2011 is a beautiful concoction of the ironic, quirky, playful, and haunting. Piano, synth and organ lay down fragile melodies and atmospheres, over which dance bassoon, cello, violin, clarinet, guitar, and light percussion. The vocals have a childlike and ethereal quality that is a bit mysterious, not unlike Kate (think 'Feel it') or the female lead from Decemberists. There are British folk overtones but the music is highly original and minimalist for the most part. And so beautiful. That was my favorite thing about NSRO. Despite the experimental approach and arrangements, the music never becomes too hip for its own good....this is inherently listenable, soulful, gorgeous music that will stay with you emotionally. It's not just a cerebral exercise.

Opener 'Morpheus Miracle Maker' starts simple and builds to a lush vocal chorus. A short vocal tale and classical guitar interlude follow, leading to the heftiest track, the 8-minute 'Heavy Weather.' This would have sounded perfectly at home on 'The Hazards of Love.' 'Berliner Luft' brings in some beats and aggressive strings for a manic and playful mood. 'Morpheus Drone' has a Celtic feel overcome by sadness. 'The Earth Beneath Our Feet' is the most traditional piece, with a grounding lyric over simple acoustic guitar that would not sound out of place on a Cat Stevens album ("we are the things we want to believe.") Soothing and lovely. 'Ring Moonlets' offers a precision reminiscent of Fripp's League of Crafty Guitarists. 'When Things Fall Apart' is simply a perfect blend of the beautiful and the sad, voice, piano and strings. Light and mood, with enough space to take it all in. None of the instrumental passages ever overplay their hand, it's very well measured. And then an amazing instrumental closer called 'Mitte der Welt' which consists of repetitious woodwinds, it felt like viewing an abstract painting. Hard to describe!

4 stars for now and easily one of the best of 2011. Could be 5 stars if it passes the crucial test of holding up over time. We'll see. For now, recommended for everyone!

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 I a moon by NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.99 | 67 ratings

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I a moon
North Sea Radio Orchestra Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars Thank you, progstreaming, for a new lease on hearing new music! Now that I've heard the music of NSRO I must have it! I've been waiting for a rival to my favored KARDA ESTRA, CICCADA, CICADA, IONA, and AFTER CRYING CDs. Even a bit of the POLYPHONIC SPREE feel here, though much more evolved and refined. Chamber music for the folk--though I hear some of the early GENESIS sounds in the piano, synths and vocal harmonies. Unlike KARDA ESTRA, the instruments are far less washed by the floating background of synths and other electronics (thus the POLYPHONIC SPREE reference), and also unlike KA, NSRO's music on this album is more folkie--quirky, off the wall, melodic, upbeat, happy/silly music. At times I'm even reminded of DAVID BYRNE, early IVY, YUGEN, and, of course, THE CARDIACS. Yet, the moods conveyed from song to song can change quite dramatically. "Berliner Luft" is very upbeat and light--like travelling minstrels entering the faire--while it's instrumental follower, "Morpheus Drone," is more late night reflective or mourning, while next, "The Earth Beneath Our Feet," has a very basic GREEN LINNET folk feel to it, while the next, "Ring Moonlets," has a delightful modern/Renaissance feel to it--not quite comparable to GENTLE GIANT, the masters of that ilk, more like Robert Fripp's work with the ROCHES. The next, "When Things Fall Apart," has a delightful multi-layer all-female vocal presentation with only piano accompaniment. Reminds me of the MEDIAEVAL BAEBES, only with more innocence and a more pastoral BENJAMIN BRITTEN/RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS sense.

I quite enjoy this album--a delightfully pleasing find. Overall, the songwriting is outstanding, the vocals quite good (lead female vocalist, Sharron Fortnam, belies comparison--part teen ingenue, part Nicolette Larsen, part JACQUI MACSHEE from THE PENTANGLE). The musical weaves are often KING CRIMSON-like though not unlike those of AFTER CRYING or JAGA JAZZIST. It is such a nice thing to find upbeat progressive music. I look forward to a long association with you, NSRO. Highly recommended to all music/prog lovers.

Added 11/13/11: What a find! Thanks again, progstreaming.com. Surprisingly refreshing, quaint and beautiful avant/chamber compositions of which the vocalized ones are my favorite--but only by a slight bit. This is an overall masterpiece whose music keeps sucking you in, keeps you coming back and continues to unravel its layers of beauty with each and every listen. Definitely one of my five favorites from 2011 (so far)--an amazing year for prog, IMHO.

1. "Morpheus Miracle Worker" (8/10) sounds a bit like one of KATE BUSH's more folk-oriented songs (e.g. "Army Dreamers" or "Night of the Swallow")

2. "I a Moon" (8/10) with its female vocal harmonies and simple acoustic instrumentation, this song reminds me of an upbeat MEDIAEVAL BAEBES song.

3. "Guitar Miniature #3" (6/10) is a cute little folk-cum-classical guitar solo piece. Nothing too remarkable.

4. "Heavy Weather" (10/10) is the album's only piece to feature prominently a male voice in the lead (soon joined by female and later by small chorale of both females and males). Musically it reminds me a lot of Genesis' "A Trick of the Tale" mixed with an old ballad by The Roches ("On the Road to Fairfax County"). Beautiful piece, extraordinary composition, despite being a bit despondent.

5. "Berliner Luft" (9/10) is a cute little instrumental that brings into play a kind of Euro-electro/Krautrock crossed with KRONOS QUARTET kind of feel to it. Sophisticated yet simple, cheery yet with a bit of a kind of Punk edge,

6. "Morpheus Drone" (8/10) begins like a Yo-yo Ma "Silk Road" piece of 'world music' with random rings of odd chimes and hanging percussives soon joined by solo cello--which plays a haunting though rather repetitive melody--Celtic, I believe.

7. "The Earth Beneath Our Feet" (8/10) seems to be a continuation of its predecessor, though melody and instruments change within the first minute (acoustic guitar). Once the vocals join in (1:18) the song takes on a very KATE BUSH feel--the vocal melody straight out of Kate's repertoire and style. While beautiful, the song doesn't really develop into anything very winning or emotional until guitar and strings (cello) team up at the 4:00 mark.

8. "Ring Moonlets" (10/10) is a beautiful little old-new instrumental song ā la GENTLE GIANT, Windham Hill and THE CALIFORNIA GUITAR TRIO (and so many others).

9. "When Things Fall Apart" (10/10) is perhaps the most KATE BUSH like song yet on this superb album. Piano and female vocals in harmony sing this song of sorrowful hope, they are later supplanted by a gorgeous string trio, to which the piano is eventually rejoined. So "The Sensual World"!

10. "Mitte der Welt" (9/10) is an instrumental that starts in a quirky KRAFTWERK-way--making the listener almost jump to the player to see if the disc is skipping--before joined by clarinet and kletzmer rhythm section--and later synths and oboe. This little avant gem could be coming from the likes of YUGEN, SKE, or perhaps even UNIVERS ZERO.

Surprisingly refreshing, quaint and beautiful avant/chamber compositions of which the vocalized ones are my favorite--but only by a slight bit. This is an overall masterpiece whose music keeps sucking you in, keeps you coming back and continues to unravel its layers of beauty with each and every listen. Definitely one of my five favorites from 2011 (so far)--an amazing year for prog, IMHO.

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