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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Olive Mess - Gramercy
    Posted: January 26 2008 at 21:33
OLIVE MESS — Gramercy
 

OLIVE MESS biography

In November 1998 Denis Arsenin (Bass), Edgar Kempish (drums) and Alexey Syomin (guitar) played their first joint rehearsal, leading to the formation of the Latvian band OLIVE MESS. The group named themselves in honour of the French 20th century composer Olivie Messian. For two years the band remained a three piece. Regularly performing at the music club called “Saxophone”, where they would play covers of King Crimson along with many of their own compositions.

In March 2001 the group released their first recording “Live without Audience” which pretty much acted as a demo. With the track “1572 (part II)” we start to see the group’s interest in Medieval French history. With the compositional basis formed around “St. Bartholomew’s day Massacre” occurring on August 23, 1572.
Later in 2001, the remaining members joined the group; including Ilze Paegle (classical trained soprano singer), Lilija Voronova (keyboards) and Sergey Syomin (Archlute, Baroque guitar). Now a full band the group prepared to start recording for their album “Gramercy” under the French label Soleil Zeuhl. The album consists of 5 long compositions. OLIVE MESS encompasses many elements in to their music; shifting between traditional medieval folk music and passages of complex avant-garde which hint strongly towards their King Crimson and Univers Zero influences. The album consists of 5 long compositions with Lyrics mainly focus on historical events in medieval France.

Well worth the investigation for those looking for something adventurous and highly original.

===Written by BLACK VELVET (Adam)===
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I'll let you judge by these two contradicting reviews what to think:
 
Prog-jester
(Igor Sidorenko)
PROG REVIEWER

2%20stars Not bad, but too experimental for me.

I ain't Zeuhl fan, hence I'm not familiar much with the genre. What I heard on OLIVE MESS album can be described as "RENESSAINCE meets KING CRIMSON" or "OPUS AVANTRA jams with GRYPHON". High-pitched opera-like female vocals, folky melodic themes (rather rare) and long jazzy jams (too long IMHO). A genre's fans choice probably, but it's worth checking (despite irritating vocalising and boring soloing).

Posted Tuesday, May 08, 2007 | Review Permalink

avestin
(Assaf Vestin)
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Zeuhl/RIO/Avant Team

4%20stars What a wonderful mess

Is Olive Mess’ music what might have resulted had Arachnoid become an avant-folk band?

Starting with a somewhat medieval sounding piece, it then morphs into a faster pace with the female singer Ilze with her stunning soprano – I am sure that this will take most if not all listener by surprise even if you know it’s coming. Now when disregarding the vocals for a minute, I noticed that the music reminds me of a 70’s prog rock French bands with their theatrical and somber approach (for some reason I thought of Arachnoid). Anyway, the complexity is there and after developing that main part long enough, they go on with their show, taking another musical route, evolving from only to come back in the end to the main theme, not before experimenting and “playing around” a bit. In this part Ilze half speaks, half sings (though not in a soprano). Her voice is stunning, full of power and emotion and when she sings in her “normal” voice it’s haunting and I would guess that a duo of her and Diamanda Galas would be interesting to listen to.

Two characteristics that I find dominant throughout their music is a folk sound, brought about by the acoustic guitar; and the theatrical and avant-garde (not always together) with brushes of somberness which, as I said above, reminds me of 70’s French prog bands, such as Arachnoid. This second aspect in their music is due to the arrangements of the songs and the way Ilze sings. Apart from that, I like the way they develop their songs, going about and not afraid to break out totally from the original route, only to come back to it later, all the while keeping things interesting whether it’s by the complexity of the compositions or the instrumentation that is at play. At times it might sound, like I read in other reviews, too “messy” to listen to. That is probably because not enough attention and listens have been given to absorb this large-scope album, which has long songs with complex and winding structure. Naturally, first listens may cause confusion and thinking that the band is not focused or simply that the music is too chaotic to enjoy it. The “mess” will clear out as more attention and concentration is applied with subsequent listening.

What one needs to do with this album if he finds it too cumbersome, is to “split” it in his mind. Focus on one instrument or the vocals; follow them as the music goes on; see how they go about and what melody they play. Then on the next listen, pick a different instrument. This way you’ll figure it out eventually (hopefully). This is actually a good way to listen to any album that gives you hard time to “solve” it structure.

Ilze’s vocals – while some might be daunted, I actually think this is not only a plus side of this album it’s also one of its highlights. She masters her voice, singing in either soprano or the more theatrical, half-spoken half-sung vocals.

Complexity/experimentation – a very good sense of adventure is what these musicians have. This is not at the expense of the melody, but as an addition to it. One only needs to understand the “context” in which it is composed and played. This is not a weird or too quirky sort of experimentation (relative to other bands in this “field”). All the while there is a good sense of direction of where they’re leading us to, what musical idea is being developed and what sound is trying to be achieved. It might be that it is too large in scope to grasp, which is why repetitive listens need to take place. Don’t dismiss this after just one listen. These are wonderfully thought-out musical pieces, both in terms of lyricism and composition. They do put a lot of effort into writing their lyrics which are as long as the tracks.

Fantastic pieces of music, well executed and inspiring; this album will appeal to those who like an adventure, something different and yet familiar in that it takes from styles and influences mentioned above and that are part of prog-rock’s legacy.

4.5 stars in PA scale

Posted Saturday, January 26, 2008 | Review Permalink

 
 
 
 
For those interested, they have a new album recorded and are looking for a label to distribute it.
 
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2008 at 21:45
I was just 'bout to comment on your review I saw upon entering the site; I'm siding with you. It is nice to see this band receiving some exposure, as they have gone almost undetected on this site. There is certainly more to this 'mess' than mets the eye, complex but overall rewarding if one is will to spend the extra time. That being said this is challenging music, so naturally will not be everyones cup of tea. I meant not everyone like olives. A strong female vocal performance as well, gives the album a strong presence, which I think a lot of bands lack these days.

iirc you posted information regarding a possible new album in the working last year. Are there any updates on this?  

Edited by Black Velvet - January 26 2008 at 21:47
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2008 at 21:48
Originally posted by Black Velvet Black Velvet wrote:

iirc you posted information regarding a possible new album in the working last year. Are there any updates on this?  
 
Sadly, no. Last time I conversed with them (about a month ago) they were still looking for a distributer/label.
It's a pity since the album is done/recorded.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2008 at 22:01
Originally posted by avestin avestin wrote:

Originally posted by Black Velvet Black Velvet wrote:

iirc you posted information regarding a possible new album in the working last year. Are there any updates on this?  
 
Sadly, no. Last time I conversed with them (about a month ago) they were still looking for a distributer/label.
It's a pity since the album is done/recorded.


Indeed this is a shame. Is Soleil Zeuhl still releasing material? I know when I was in Latvia, I was trying to track down their album, to little avenge, they are not the most popular chaps in their own country. Have you heard any of this new material, it would be interesting to see if they have gone down a similar path with this album.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 26 2008 at 22:06
I have Gramercy. I really like the album, but haven't listened to it for ages, though.  Can also listen to music here: http://www.olivemess.com/music.html
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2008 at 08:57
Good news:
The band found a label, they sent them their recording with all the cd art work and liner notes and this will be printed and released within the next few months.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 28 2008 at 03:33
I gotta re-write my crappy review They worth more really, besides I ain't die-hard Neo fan anymore
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2008 at 08:38
The new Olive Mess album, Cherdak is released now through Mellow Records.
Listen to a song from it here:
 
The song is called Ovum Mechanicus
 
 
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