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JET BLACK SEA

Crossover Prog • Netherlands


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Jet Black Sea biography
Founded in Leiden, Netherlands in 2013

JET BLACK SEA was conceived in 2013 as a new project by Adrian Jones (NINE STONES CLOSE) and Michel Simons. The music is dark, experimental, ambient and progressive. After working together in the studio on the Nine Stones Close albums it became clear there were other forms of music that they both wanted to explore. With their completely different approaches to writing and recording, their varied musical backgrounds complement and enhance each other, creating the foundation of this new exciting musical journey. The debut album The Path Of Least Existence was released on November 15th 2013 to critical acclaim. The Path Of Least Existence has drawn parallels and comparisons with artists as diverse as Ulver, Nine Inch Nails, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Massive Attack, and touches on many influences and genres. The package is completed by Antonio Seijas? stunning artwork (known for his work with Marillion, Gazpacho and Nine Stones Close). The result is an instrumental album, populated with lush, dreamy soundscapes, full-throttle guitar solos, aggressive noise assaults, beautiful piano fills - a fantastic mix of themes and styles, one that just doesn't fit into any one musical category easily, climaxing with the majestic and powerful title track. Post-rock? Post Prog? Metal? Alternative? All of the above! The Path Of Least Existence will surely be talked about as one of the best releases of 2013!

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Buy JET BLACK SEA Music


Absorption LinesAbsorption Lines
Freia Music 2017
$18.93
$11.99 (used)
Path Of Least ExistencePath Of Least Existence
JFK 2013
$11.26
$23.65 (used)

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JET BLACK SEA discography


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JET BLACK SEA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 67 ratings
The Path Of Least Existence
2013
3.92 | 24 ratings
Absorption Lines
2017
4.29 | 7 ratings
The Overview Effect
2018

JET BLACK SEA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

JET BLACK SEA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

JET BLACK SEA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Overview Effect by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.29 | 7 ratings

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The Overview Effect
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Probably it's an unwritten promise yet. I mean putting a new high caliber album to the table year by year from now on? I was fairly thrilled by 'Absorption Lines' already, and now, a prompt feedback, Adrian Jones and Michel Simons are refining their message. On top of it catering for an entertaining monster track of 36 minutes running time! Thematically seen this relates to a phenomenon astronauts are oftenly experiencing when looking down to earth from their mothership. Prog in space, here we go again. Hence they are true to their narrative orientation, consequently there is much of a cosmic vibe to follow.

And finally this is garnered with some trip-hop feel in the vein of Massive Attack and DJ Shadow. Definitely a challenge for everybody who requires categories in order to come to a proper orientation more or less. Anyway, lift-off now. Provided with the necessary power, strength, slicing guitar riffs and a dramatic singing voice given by Adrian O'Shaughnessy, the opening track Escape Velocity makes it big. Short, but surely to the point, the ultimate teaser for encouraging interest in that album I would say. The epic mid-tempo title track, while they are gliding through the orbit yet, is divided in different sections.

Ambient synth patterns and loops, trippy ethno world imprints including tabla, the rocking parts are featuring a bunch of soaring guitars. Somewhere in between they are undergoing and surviving a (mental?) downfall. Awesome! This may be a point of interest for fans of early Porcupine Tree, Marco Ragni and similar. Honestly, afterwards, although thematically essential maybe, while reflecting the crew's comeback, the ballad Home [E.D.L.] comes as a little downer. This will not effectively downgrade my overall impression though. JET BLACK SEA are back with another excellent offer.

 The Overview Effect by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.29 | 7 ratings

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The Overview Effect
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by marbles259

5 stars Jet Black Sea - The Overview Effect (2018)

Review by Stuart Ball

Five years ago, guitarist and lyricist Adrian Jones (Nine Stones Close), formed a partnership with Michel Simons to form a duo intent on exploring the limits of their creativity and drive. No boundaries as to genre or style were set for the initial sessions and the resulting album The Path of Least Existence was nothing short of stunning. In 2017, the follow-up album, Absorption Lines, pushed this creativity further still. That thirst for pushing the boundaries, alongside a desire to move ever forward was ultimately to lead Jet Black Sea in an altogether unexpected direction; a direction that would surprise even themselves.

The Overview Effect is a phrase coined by Frank White, who explored the theme in his book The Overview Effect - Space Exploration and Human Evolution in 1987. White has since published several editions of the book, the bulk of which is based upon interviews with astronauts. Astronauts who experience Earth from orbit often report feelings of awe and wonder and being transformed by what they describe as the magic such a perspective brings. This phenomenon is called The Overview Effect.

Opener, Escape Velocity, begins with a mournful, melodic cello and keyboard interchange; a keyboard sound which has become one of the hallmarks of the band. Simons is a master at developing layered soundscapes and the opening is replaced by spinning, sanguine electronics. A throbbing heartbeat begins and we are on board with the astronauts preparing for launch. Two minutes in the unmistakeable power chords of Adrian Jones initiate the final countdown. We are thrown back in our seats - the powerful vocals of Adrian O' Shaughnessy hitting like a sledgehammer, as we leave the ground and begin our ascent. The first short but forceful guitar solo signals the change "from blue to black" as we enter space. Escape Velocity sets the scene, serving as introduction for the extraordinary centrepiece that is to follow and Jet Black Sea have already captivated the listener.

As the final notes of Escape Velocity drift away, the epic title track begins with moments of silence, which echo the transition within the astronaut as he enters space - "for a moment I can't breathe."

What follows, is a thirty-six minute epic, unlike anything I have ever heard before, taking us through the entire journey with the astronaut. We experience each moment, thought and emotion with him. Describing a track of this nature with mere words seems almost vulgar - such is the scope of ambition on display.

Beginning life as a thirty minute experimental drone piece, The Overview Effect has become so much more than the band ever imagined. While putting the drone together, there was originally no planned concept. This came much later in a moment of inspiration for Jones, mere hours before O'Shaughnessy was due to record his vocals.

After more luscious keyboard resonances from Simons, two minutes in, an insistent drum pattern begins. Swirling, shimmering sounds enthral the listener (this is an album that works particularly well on headphones). The astronaut is finding it hard to take in the moment and adjust to his new surroundings. "And I race toward the dark, looking back into the light" intones O' Shaughnessy, an ominous sense of duality in his delivery.

As the journey continues, there is a growing sense of melancholy and loss in the astronaut's thoughts: "Escaping your grasp, no longer attached, a view from afar, I see how lonely you are." He is communicating his feelings on both a personal and global level, speaking to loved ones he has left behind but also the human race, the planet and the atmosphere he knows so well. Energetic, insistent guitars from Jones echo Gilmour at his most aggressive.

In a flash we are ten minutes into The Overview Effect. Simons conjures up a sequence reminiscent of Pink Floyd's On the Run, which alters the mood entirely. The splendour of the Earth now stirs a different response from the astronaut. Splendour which encapsulates him and he realises just what we are doing to our beautiful world and how we all have a responsibility to the planet: "I am part of everything." Simons's sequence continues relentlessly as we experience one of the highlights of the album, an aggressive, awe-inspiring solo from Jones.

Lyrically, the majority of the album is, without doubt, lighter in tone than the majority of Jones's previous efforts but this section is bleak, dark and desolate. "I am changed to be born again in my reinforced cocoon, into a new dawn." The astronaut is losing his sense of attachment with Earth as the mission continues and the distance from home increases rapidly. A gloriously unhindered three minute section in the middle of The Overview Effect illustrates the jarring sentiments within the astronaut. One can imagine Jones belting it out in the studio at this point, playing instinctively allowing the mood to guide him rather than performing a strategically planned guitar break.

At twenty minutes, a staccato percussion further drives the astronaut into his detachment. Simons mesmerizes with eddying, churning electronics that taunt the listener, while Jones slides up and down the frets in a glissando frenzy. It is a section of ferocity, fervour and magnificent power. It is with some relief (of the best possible kind) when a delicately strummed acoustic guitar takes over. The astronaut, alongside us, has gathered his thoughts and a feeling of exhilaration begins to pour through his body. A recorded clip of Dr Mae Jemison (the first African American woman to travel in space), tells us the story of her own time in the void, her own overview effect recollections. This plays over a section that clearly shows the drone origin of the track; background effects repeat, mingle, intertwine and disperse.

At almost twenty-nine minutes, the ever-changing mental state of the astronaut is revealed "Colours start to deepen and change, peaceful and euphoric, an emotional extreme, I can feel your lure from here." Adrian O' Shaughnessy has done a remarkable job with the vocals, the album demanding he use the full range of his power and pitch. The title track is reaching its climax and Jones lets rip with another astounding solo; Simons following him at every turn. The mission is coming to an end and the astronaut is heading back to Earth. Velocity increases once more and a feeling of urgency develops within the music. But there is much splendour and magnificence here too. The astronaut is heading for home.

The whole piece does not seem almost thirty-six minutes long and time flies. While it is clear there are various themes explored, Jet Black Sea did not once consider splitting The Overview Effect into pieces or even naming individual sections, preferring to let the lyrics speak for themselves and for the listener to take the entire cinematic and fascinating journey with them. The whole track leaves us quite breathless. It is a startling musical achievement. Beguiling. Mysterious. Entrancing.

At this point, like the astronauts, we are preparing for the end of our journey through this remarkable album. Home (EDL) (Entry, Descent, Landing) begins once more with the familiarity of a simple but efficacious piano part. Musically, Home was originally demoed for the Absorption Lines album; unexpected circumstances led to the track being side-lined for that particular venture. Resurrected for this album with new lyrics, it serves as the perfect conclusion to the story, the astronaut acknowledging the change within. "A deep red glow surrounds me, a hot sun falling from the sky, I'll never be the same again". Subtle drums by Christiaan Bruin move the track forward and O' Shaughnessy delivers one of his most heartfelt vocal performances on any album. "I feel your arms around me, as I bleed into the light" is the Earth welcoming the returning astronaut, in tandem with a loved one he's been longing to see. An unexpected but moving violin solo by Russian Dimitri Artemenko brings an air of charm to the track. However, this is taken over by a heart-achingly radiant guitar solo. This review was initially sketched out while cruising in a plane at 36,000 feet over the Tyrrhenian Sea. Looking down at the Earth, while listening to this solo, through scattered cumulus clouds was an otherworldly experience. There were initial concerns from Adrian Jones that the track was, in his words, "an obvious ballad" but he need not have been concerned ? it's the most beautiful thing he has ever recorded.

Much praise for the astonishing sound of the album must go to producer Paul Van Zeeland. Producer of Leaves by Nine Stones Close and Jet Black Sea's Absorption Lines, Van Zeeland had already shown he understands how to get the best from Simons and Jones, whatever the venture. Of note is the sound Van Zeeland draws from the bass playing of Adrian Jones. He is known as a remarkable lead and rhythm guitarist but his bass works shines throughout. Such was his dedication to the project, on the day the master was due to be sent for pressing, he presented Jones with a new version of Home, in which the bass drum sound had been "tweaked". Upon comparing the new version Jones found that the sound was slightly clearer in the heavier section, giving the piece more space. An hour later and the new version was sent for pressing. No corners were cut in the making of this album.

Jet Black Sea have produced a simply astounding album. It is one of amazing scope, concept and ambition. It is also one of hope and optimism for both the Earth and for humanity. Although a cult following exist for this band, they deserve much more. This album should be heard far more widely.

This is not just an album to listen to....this is an album to experience.

 Absorption Lines by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.92 | 24 ratings

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Absorption Lines
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Honestly, this is not an album I actually would expect from a project with Adrian Jones involved. I solely knew him due to his band Nine Stones Close beforehand, in this case producing fine neo prog songs. 'Absorption Lines' though is far more space rock and electronic music oriented. Hey, one might say, isn't it a worn out concept in the meanwhile? No it isn't, among others of course thanks to this album first and foremost. Michel Simons and Adrian Jones are deriving from a different cosmos music-wise, but skillfully consolidate their influences and visions anyhow. Call it DJ Shadow meets Pink Floyd, or maybe Tangerine Dream comes along with Porcupine Tree. Something of everything is in place here, this supported by some guesting musicians.

Equipped with an ambient/trip hop attitude Wrong Turn marks the lift-off, until then suddenly a tremendous groove and space guitars are brought into action. The second song The Sixth Wheel appears in a similar execution featuring some ethno/world feel. Ambient key patterns are each contrasting as well as harmonizing with heavy drums and guitar riffs. Well done so far! Okay, properly speaking, the extended title track reminds of The Great Gig In The Sky in particular. However, an intriguing, way more spacey atmosphere is given here. 'Houston, we've had a problem' - they are including the sample from the original radio communication, just after the Apollo 13 astronauts had figured out the damage.

While considering this highly dangerous moment it's set into motion with an oppressive melancholic feel. Surely a highlight! And then there is another novelty to state by comparing with the project's debut, I mean the vocal supported songs Cathedral and Hours Slip Into Days. The closing song picks up the Apollo 13 issue again, contentwise checking up which option to choose for a save return. So I would say, due to a fluid execution featuring proper trance feel, this one is a recommended contribution to the psych/space genre after all.

 Absorption Lines by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.92 | 24 ratings

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Absorption Lines
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by marbles259

5 stars Jet Black Sea ? Absorption Lines (2017)

In 2013, Nine Stones Close main man Adrian Jones teamed up with Dutch electronics wizard Michel Simons, to produce Jet Black Sea's debut album, the magnificent The Path of Least Existence. The album was a collection of eloquent, ethereal but nonetheless intense instrumental pieces, which provided the pair with a no limits platform for experimentation.

While Absorption Lines, the sophomore outing for the Anglo-Dutch duo, unquestionably has the DNA of the first album within its psyche, Simons and Jones have shown, that neither is happy with simply giving us more of the same. Absorption Lines draws on a wider range of musical genres, sounds, styles and influences. The album twists and turns through these diverse passageways, never allowing the listener to become totally at ease or ever convinced they can predict what is coming next. Absorption Lines is an altogether different animal to its predecessor.

Within the first three minutes, opening track Wrong Turn, becomes a head-spinning multi-directional piece, delivering swirling keyboards alongside a truly forceful hook that mesmerises from the start.

The Sixth Wheel roams (and later marches) through entirely different scenery to the opening salvo of Wrong Turn. Middle-eastern influenced synth work runs throughout the heart of the track, while Jones' crunching riffs, some of the heaviest on the album, demonstrate the seamless coalescence that occurs when Jet Black Sea combine their not inconsiderable talent. Jones and Simons have chosen further contributors to the album wisely; The Sixth Wheel is the second of three tracks benefiting from the input of Nine Stones Close drummer Pieter van Hoorn and also the first of two to feature Riversea keyboardist Brendan Eyre. Both help to make this one of the most intriguing tracks on the album. Complementing this wealth of talent, the production on the album dances with an iridescent, opalescent vigour and The Sixth Wheel is no exception. Sound engineer Paul van Zeeland has helped to construct what may be the best sounding album of Jones' career. No mean feat, considering the multi-layered approach Jet Black Sea use in their beguiling compositions.

Jumping to a Conclusion (Part 1), is a short link instrumental which leads us directly into the title track. Absorption Lines, the longest track and centrepiece of the album, clocks in just a few seconds short of eleven minutes. It is a melancholic, wraithlike piece, which transports us to the stricken Apollo 13 spacecraft, leaving us drifting helplessly along with the crew; the original recordings of dialogue between the astronauts and Houston, adding an ominous, gritty reality. The title track steadily builds its atmosphere layer by layer, until six minutes in, when Adrian Jones unleashes a powerful slide guitar solo so haunting, your stereo will need an exorcist. Jones himself has stated "it's probably the best piece of slide playing I have managed so far." Few would disagree. Absorption Lines is a masterpiece of the slow reveal.

As the first Jet Black Sea album was an entirely instrumental undertaking, it may surprise some that fifth track Cathedral, is the first of two songs on the album. Cathedral, doesn't give up all its secrets straight away; the lyrical segment of the track not kicking in until the fourth of the song's seven minutes. However, make no mistake, this is undeniably a Jet Black Sea composition ? Cathedral was originally conceived as an entirely instrumental piece - the lyrics added late on in the recording of the album ? but one which exudes a darker malevolence with the addition of the exhilarating vocal provided by Jones' Nine Stones Close bandmate, Adrian (AiO) O' Shaughnessy. "Hollow heart and hollow wisdom?...Paradise is not here" intones O' Shaughnessy , as Cathedral becomes a captivating paean to a man losing his faith.

Up next is Hours Slip into Days, the second longest track on the album. It opens with a hypnotising piano section which could easily be a direct continuation of the exquisite coda on the final track of the band's first album. Hours? is surreal, somnolent, almost trancelike in its construction. Eight-and-a-half minutes float by in heartbeat. There is a swirling, celestial feel to the lyric, delivered flawlessly by Tony Patterson - his vocals the perfect fit for such a song. "You don't know me, Out of reach, Medicate, Alleviate, Mask the fear." As has always been the case, Jones' lyrics dig deep into the soul and draw the listener inexorably into his dreams.

Completing the album, is a second track influenced by the plight of those aboard Apollo 13; 133 Hours referring to length of one of the possible return flight plans put forward by NASA after the now famous "problem". While no less potent in its empyrean poignant atmospherics than the title track, 133 Hours delivers a greater feeling of optimism in the latter part of the track; the closing minutes of the album bringing to mind the successful splashdown, in the Pacific Ocean, of the command module - Odyssey.

With the release of Absorption Lines, Jet Black Sea have made a significant leap forward in their sound; the album only revealing its full trove of treasures with multiple listens. While maintaining the innovative, inventive qualities that made "The Path of Least Existence" such a success, Simons and Jones have pushed themselves to the limit once more. Without a doubt they bring out the best in each other.

Mysterious yet charismatic; ambient yet powerful; alluring yet secretive - Jet Black Sea deserve your attention.

 The Path Of Least Existence by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 67 ratings

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The Path Of Least Existence
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Jet Black Sea is one of those bands that I saw on PA's popular artists of the last 24 hours and I decided to check out their sound by listening to a sample on YouTube. I heard "The Law of Diminishing Returns" and was impressed enough to order the album without further scrutiny.

My impression is mixed. It is an album of mostly dark, haunting, and almost disturbing at times musical compositions for electric guitar, synthesizer, piano, drums, and electronica. The music often inspires images of a post apocalyptic world or the Terminator-like future with "Northern Exposure" sounding like a soundtrack for the dawn following a "Day After Tomorrow" type of devastating winter storm that has left civilization inert.

I wasn't planning to write a track by track review; however, as I listened to the CD this morning for the purpose of writing a review during my commute, it was natural to start typing notes on my phone's notepad.

"The Path of Least Existence, Part I" is a slowly building walk through a post-apocalyptic landscape with incantato vocals, a Nine Inch Nails-like use of electronica, and a flood of guitar distortion. It's eerie, dark ambient music for the most part.

"Outnumbered" features electronic drums and slow, easy synthesizer chords. In the middle we get real drums, piano and guitar that sounds like a bulging bicep muscle version of a post-Waters Pink Floyd instrumental.

My favourite track and the reason why I bought the album is "The Law of Diminishing Returns" which has a horror movie piano melody and building guitar distortion until it erupts furiously just past the 2:00 mark with full on drums and raging guitar. This is the soundtrack for the End of the World.

For a change of pace, a vibraphone in an odd time signature and effects like from late sixties Floyd introduces "Worst Case Scenario". By now I can really understand that the guitar is not used for riffing and little for solos but more for effects and mood creation, usually unsettling, haunting, and doom-laden. This track is like the soundtrack for the mechanical takeover of a human mind and it reminds me a little of "Further Down the Spiral", a remix album of music from "The Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails.

I prepared a lot of notes for the remaining tracks but there is a consistency of dark, moody atmospheric music that on occasion introduces some pretty melody in a sombre minor key. I felt the word "requiem" well applied to the piano music of "Northern Exposure". In the less ominous-sounding parts of some other tracks, there is the occasional similarity to some of Porcupine Tree's music as well.

Though there is an overall sameness to the music of the album, there is enough variety in each track to sidestep any impression of repetition. I'd call it cohesion. Only "The Path of Least Existence, Part II" bears resemblance to the opening track and it should as it is the continuation of "Part I".

This is not an album you'd likely want to listen to while driving with the family to the riverside or put in your ears for a jog in the park. It's more for those quiet private moments when you can let the haunting and dark ambiance take you soul and imagination for a ride through landscapes at the end of humanity. It's not easy to pull just a couple of tracks off for a mixed playlist, but I still feel "The Law of Diminishing Returns" makes for a superb stand alone track and a great introduction to the album.

I wouldn't exactly call this an excellent edition unless this is to your taste in which case you won't want to miss it. If more complex prog or something more lively or lighter is your preference, then you can just stroll on by. I initially awarded the album three stars because for me this is an album for very specific listening times. However, it is very well done and a suitable break from the more complex and active music that comprises much of the progressive music scene. So, I will give it four stars.

 The Path Of Least Existence by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 67 ratings

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The Path Of Least Existence
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Jet Black Sea is a dark-ambient musical project with elements of electronic music and progressive rock, lead by guitarist Adrian Jones (of progressive rock band Nine Stones Close) and instrument sampling arranger Michel Simons. Do not be mistaken by the name of the band, it is not a tribute to the music of Stranglers, and Jet Black's drumming in particular (though songs like "la folie" might fit the bill), it is ethereal music with lush arrangements and an overall intriguing atmosphere, akin to the likes of Dead Can Dance, Massive Attack or Nine Inch Nails but also to Pink Floyd and King Crimson for the progressive rock side.

With its incantatory voices and eerie keyboards, "the path of least existence pt 1" sets the mood of the album: dark, ambient, and meditative. Some distant colliding keyboard sounds add to the mysterious feel. Short guitar licks seem disoriented in this strange atmosphere. Slowly moving forward drums join, and guitars deliver distorted sounds, soon followed by a noise evoking crashing walls like marking the end of an era. Slow mysterious piano touches accompany the crashing noise, they really sound like the piano in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

"Outnumbered" opens with ulcerated guitars. It then segues into more cheerful territories than previously, with more upbeat incantatory voices, aquatic rhodes and soothing piano/keyboards, programmed beats vibrating like the tail of a dog to signify that it is happy. In the bridge, the vibrating beats morph into "laser" sounds, before syncopated drums with thrilled guitars reinforce the feeling of cheerfulness. The song ends in a meditative way with dreamy keyboards.

"The law of diminishing" starts with distorted guitars like a gurgling stomach, then some creepy piano notes and a wall of threatening guitars narrow the musical space and give it an oppressive vibe. The ambiance becomes mysterious with dubious guitars and stubborn slow drums (by stubborn, I mean "that barely deviates from a pattern that seems imposed" it is not derogatory at all within the current context). Guitar develops a melody line as the song progresses and ends in imploring ways.

"Worst case scenario" deals with a looped vibraphone, interspersed with percussions, various threatening sounds and laidback then tribal drums.

"cage of myself pt 1" comes with floating dark keyboards, gentle repetitive slow guitar. The cloudy keyboards give way to sunny keyboards and celesta join together with an insisting signal.

In "nothern exposure", a sad mid-tempo piano is backed by dark cloudy keyboards, furtive glockenspiel and aerial Gilmour-like guitars. A short passage presents with a plaintive guitar, like an animal in wound crying, while the piano sounds more upbeat and the keyboards sunnier. The sad piano then returns and concludes the song.

"cage of myself pt 2" is a short piece with orchestral keyboards and threatening guitars sounding like a military step.

"Jet Black Sea" offers programmed beats like a ping pong ball bouncing on the table, and various electronic effects, including whistling keyboards. They are followed by interesting echoing sounds and incantatory voice. The song remains in an electronic vibe with slow programmed beats, keyboards blowing like the wind, crying guitars and keyboards rendering the sound of trumpet, all these elements reminding the more laidback moments of Pink Floyd crossed with Mark Isham's meditative world.

In the closing track, "the path of least existence pt 2", incantatory voices ' la Lisa Gerrard meet pensive keyboards and slowly coming tribal drums. When guitar steps in with both aggressive and aerial inflexions, the drums start beating with syncopation, and soon ensure the transition, once left alone, to a mellow epilogue, with gentle piano and guitar licks disintegrating in the air like dust in the wind.

With 'the path of least existence', The Jet Black Sea navigate on troubles waters, and invite us to a journey through mysterious countries "obscured by clouds" and where people say "goodbye Blue sky" but sometimes are "racing the clouds home".

 The Path Of Least Existence by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 67 ratings

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The Path Of Least Existence
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by marbles259

5 stars How often, when listening to a new album for the first time do you think: That was good, I enjoyed that? 10 times a year perhaps? Probably more?

How often, when listening to a new album for the first time are you totally blown away? Once every year or two?

How often, when listening to a new album for the first time are you blown away, chewed up, taken on an innovative sonic journey, spat out breathless and wondering how the hell that just happened? Maybe once every three years? Five years? Less?

And now consider: how often does the latter happen and is still happening by the fifth listen?..the sixth?.the tenth?

I ask you to contemplate these questions carefully because when you listen to "The Path of Least Existence" you should be prepared for the last of these. Albums rarely have this sort of immediate effect on me but Jet Black Sea (the duo of Adrian Jones (Nine Stones Close) and Michel Simons) have created something so different, so unexpected that I fail to see how the effect could have been any different.

The album's power lies in its ability to pull in and hold the listener captivated for its entire length, without them realizing just how much time has passed. The duo obviously set no boundaries with the musical themes and styles they wish to explore; all within the context of an instrumental album.

The epic 19 minute title track (split into two parts which bookend the album) begins drone-like, building steadily via passages reminiscent of Dead Can Dance towards some exceptionally exquisite guitar work. The second half of the track, picking up where the first left of, is a triumph; the solos are gut-wrenching and powerful. The final four minutes of the album will tear your heart out. The melancholic interplay between guitar and keyboard providing a quiet but utterly majestic coda.

In between these bookends, seven other tracks take us onward through a maelstrom of emotion and sensation without letting up for a moment.

'Outnumbered' flows directly from Part One of the title track, until a couple of minutes in, a new beat arises and the song begins to build again, almost bluesy, with some frills evocative of The Doors. A piano melody that wouldn't be out of place on a Tangerine Dream album takes over and begins to take us in a new direction, until at just over five minutes in, the song ignites and thus commences one of the heaviest and finest guitar solos on the album.

'The Law of Diminishing Returns' may be the most mysterious, enigmatic track on the album. Crashing percussion and swirling, eddying guitar and keyboards reverberations surround us and continue to draw us ever closer to the secret within.

Worst Case Scenario is the most unexpected track on the album. A celebration of ingenuity, individuality and experimentation.

Cage of Myself (Part I) / Northern Exposure / Cage of Myself (Part II) are a trilogy in themselves, devastating in their simplicity, particularly the middle track of the three, driven by a mournful piano track.

The penultimate track 'The Jet Black Sea' is a master class of instrumental construction. The central guitar solo manages to be somehow in the foreground and background simultaneously. The ominous, tormenting keyboard passages providing ever deepening darkness. In its early sections it brings Tangerine Dream back to mind once more but later in the track Floydian influences are more evident.

The album's 57 minutes rush past in a heartbeat and you'll be reaching to restart it before the final note has faded away.

This is an album you need to hear.

 The Path Of Least Existence by JET BLACK SEA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 67 ratings

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The Path Of Least Existence
Jet Black Sea Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars OMG, what a bloody masterpiece! Absolutely ridiculous that Adrian Jones of Nine Stones Close would have the vision to go way beyond normal and attractive neo-prog and lend himself as a slave to genius by creating such a tremendous work of art. I like Adrian a lot, he is a gentle soul and a wicked guitarist that few seem to realize, he does things to his instrument which flutters nicely in known territory but veers into such experimental tones that you have to be somewhat twisted to 'fore hear', so predictably unpredictable his playing can be, especially on this collaboration with producer and sound guru manipulist Michel Simons. Incredible mind music that shoots like a fiery meteor towards the deepest universe, though traversed by floating moments that defy comparison (maybe Eno in a more creative way). Torrents of effects only enhance the forlorn piano, the turbulent whispered vocals and the space between notes, that spirit, creator of an airy celestial disposition within the serenity of mankind. Smooth, jazzy, electronic, it was everything I expected, due to a few choice samples on their website. And then some!

On the opener ''The Path of Least Existence'' the glimmering sonic carpet is laid down with precision, a slow drone that slowly evolves into a voice shimmer, not unlike early Dead Can Dance or Cocteau Twins, until a brooding bass rumble encourages even more dense atmospherics, swirling synths, screeching guitars and colossal choir effects. The electric guitar then takes center stage amid wispy electronic backdrops, tortured and expressive as if guided by extreme emotions and even pain. Then, after a flare-up of explosive detonations, a piano rudders through the mist, unchallenged and yet slightly unhinged.

The afterglow of fuzzed out guitar fireworks, such as on the incandescent ''Outnumbered'', is purely delectable when the cracklings kick in, aided by some simple echo-laden piano motifs. The tricky electro-percussive rhythm gives this a modern and accessible feel for a good while until the mood switches to surly and heavy, Adrian ripping his frets to shreds. The track is sandwiched between ambient segments, giving it a real life of its own, full of tension and breath. Absolutely mesmerizing music, a soundtrack to our modern lifestyle.

''The Law of Diminishing Returns '' (now that's a super prog title) offers a world of aching beauty , a first impression seared on the listener's mind, quickly morphing into Kafka-esque absurdity, jarring sounds, unnerving atmospheric guitar growls and ceaseless piano, nose- diving into a heavy maelstrom of rock hard guitar and a beastly Boom-Boom metronome beat that hammers the fear home. Forceful and hefty, this is no feminine neo-prog, no hints of pastoral folk elements and no overtly simpleton soloing.

''Worst Case Scenario'' starts out with a Gentle Giant-like vibraphone etude, syncopated insanity and you ask yourself if these two musicians are on some inconceivable high (spiritual or herbal), breaking new sonic ground with strange sounds and weird waves, a musical depiction of dysfunction or ACD. The title is dead on (pun intended) , a complete and unexpected festival of creativity.

The silky smooth lullaby ''Cage of Myself Part I '' is quite remindful of 'Moments in Time '' by the Art of Noise, as it leads exquisitely into the piano-driven ''Northern Exposure'' (something we Canadians know quite a lot about), as the music become imposingly icy, crisp and overpowering in simplicity and utter beauty. 'Cage of Myself Part II' cocoons this segment perfectly with another somber reptile style of peculiar sound.

'Jet Black Sea' is another delight, easily the most overt prog piece with its gloomy imagery, clanging guitar, brooding Floydism, echoing bass voice effects, slinky percussives and a real sense of doom. It evolves quite on its own, syncopated road signs, pools of synthesized raindrops and engaging symphonic colorations. Adrian then unleashes a searing guitar solo, full of screeching agony and despair, a monster torture session on the axe's neck, wringing it like some hapless chicken. Powerful, pitiless and wholly memorable! It truly defines the style and spirit of this special collaboration.

Close out this stunner with a direct segue to the opening title track, a fitting adieu (hopefully, au revoir!) to this magical recording. The same foreboding menace is apparent in this curtain call, where explosive drums marshal the kismet, where drifting female choir and riveting synth walls of sound shove the arrangement into troubling waters of doubt and fear. Adrian rips off a screaming solo just to drive the nails deeper into the coffin of time and space.

5 Dim Rocket Depths

Thanks to tszirmay for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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