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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Deluge Grander - The Form Of The Good (2009)
    Posted: April 19 2009 at 18:48
The second DELUGE GRANDER album The Form Of The Good and what an album that is! Clap




Before I paste the release notes and the 2 PA reviews, here are 2 links to listen and know more about this release and the band for those who want to:

www.delugegrander.com

www.myspace.com/delugegrander




Here are the notes that Dan Britton wrote about the tracks on the album:

1. Before the Common Era (5:22)
2. The Tree Factory (14:08)
3. Common Era Caveman (6:26)
4. Aggrandizement (19:12)
5. The Form of the Good (8:41)


Before the Common Era:
The shortest piece in Deluge Grander history!  Probably also the quietest one, even with the big climax in the middle.  This one uses some samples of chanting recorded by Brett's uncle Frank at an old cabin in rural Saskatchewan several years ago.  Compared to most of our songs, it's pretty minimalist, and not exactly the most intense way to open an album, but it's intended to really create an atmosphere for what comes next.

The Tree Factory:
This one was built around a two drum rhythms Patrick came up with (one in 10 and a half, and the other in 21) and a very conventional Supertramp-styled electric piano pattern I used to call "San Jose 83" for some reason.  The symphonic intro and conventional ending were added on quickly after it ocurred to us to combine those three ideas, and Dave's melodies during the middle part of the song really added a lot.  We might have gone overboard with sound effects in a few places, but that made the song sound like what might happen in a factory, so there you go. 

Common Era Caveman:
Mostly just a 2-chord sequence, but there's a tight bassline/melody that ties the electric piano, bass guitar, and drums together, with a lot of fun stuff added on top.  Patrick had to put in a very intense performance to get the drums right for this one.

Aggrandizement:
A lot of work went into this.  Parts for cello, trombone, trumpet, flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, and violin were written out and recorded as best I could.  Plus the regular old drums, guitars, bass, and keyboards.  This one will probably get compared to "Inaugural Bash," and I think this piece sticks together a little better than "Inaugural Bash."  "Aggrandizement" really represents the album as a whole, starting out atmospheric, then getting a bit more intense, a drop in intensity followed by a conventional classical sounding section (composed around 1996 by the way) a meandering middle section, and then a steady buildup towards the big release with fierce bass playing and drum work. 

The Form of the Good:

Rather than end the album darkly, this closes on a more positive vibe.  The first half is quiet and dark, but all of a sudden, at around 4:30, a majestic sequence is played 11 times, followed by a reprise of the first song.

Although there's only singing on the first song (and that singing isn't really in English), there is a general "concept" to the album, at least in the artwork and song titles.





PA reviews:

bhikkhu
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4 stars I took a hiatus from P.A. almost a year ago, and really had no immediate plans to come back. Then, out of the blue, I got a package in the mail. It was from Dan Britton, and contained a copy of the new Deluge Grander album. Apparently he did not realize that I was no longer active. However, he did know that I was a big fan. So, because he took the trouble to send it to me, I thought it only right that I submit a review (and the first one) here. His action also inspired me to resume writing about the music I love. For that (and more) I am very grateful.

When I first heard Deluge Grander, I became an instant fan. "August in the Urals" made my list for best of 2006, and got me very excited about the future of symphonic prog. There was much debate during the initial inclusion process as to whether this was truly a symphonic band or not. I argued vigorously for symph, and have been completely validated with this release.

The opener, "Before the Common Era," Should sound very familiar to anyone who has Heard Deluge Grander before. The mood, tonal quality, and ghostly vocals are all there. It sounds like something that could have been left off of "August in the Urals." The difference is that it is fully orchestrated. This gives it tremendous depth and lushness. It's not an overt, in your face type of thing, but it is rich. The strings are absolutely gorgeous. This time out, the band is also taking us in slowly. This is definitely an intro, and as Dan Britton says, the shortest thing they have ever written.

"The Tree Factory" begins in classic symph land (tasty mellotron), and gets darker as it goes along. Two minutes in, it becomes a fusion jam out. This builds, changes gears, and even total direction a few times. The jazz themes remain present, but not always in the forefront. One thing that strikes me is that it makes me think of Birds and Buildings. I think the esthetic from that project carried over a bit. There is a distinct Zuehl feel to the pace and intensity.

"Common Era Caveman" seems to be more of an extension of the previous track. It continues the frenetic fusion jamming. Only this time there is more fuzz, and a strong Zappa influence.

The next part is where this album really comes into it's own. In my review of the debut, I mentioned how it suffered a bit by starting out with the big epic. After that, nothing else quite measures up. This time it is next to last (was someone listening?). "Aggrandizement" is full on glorious symph. In fact, I think it is closer to classical music than rock. It really is a big orchestrated symphonic piece. It is pure Deluge Grander all the way, but boy did they hit the nail on the head this time. There are parts that may sound derivative, but they are nonetheless welcome. Other parts I find truly striking, and surprising (check around ten minutes in). When the mood takes them, this outfit can really cook. It's just an outstanding piece of music.

I find the title track very interesting. The beginning is like something that would be a short, postscript closer. It evolves into something dark, and subtly menacing. The music is actually soft, but there is an uneasy tension. The tension and menace continue to build to eeriness. Just when the decent into the netherworld seems imminent, redemption is found. The grandiose, 'all is well now' thing may seem trite, but it is pulled off expertly. I mean come on. Didn't most of us dig our classic prog opuses because they made us feel renewed at the end? Well, I sure did (think "Misplaced Childhood," and "Supper's Ready").

So, how does the sophomore effort of this Dan Britton project measure up? Is it as good as "August in the Urals?" Is it a let down, or is it even better? You know what, I'm not even going to go there. The first couple of listens didn't take hold. Perhaps it was because I wasn't paying close enough attention by the time "Aggrandizement" started (which alone is worth the price of the CD. But now that I have applied the "critical" treatment, I see that its value should not be judged that way. Some things are very familiar, but the addition of strings and winds provide what may have been missing before. The quality of the production is also much improved. Whatever the differences, or similarities may be, Deluge Grander just makes great music. I was ga-ga about the first album, and a lot of that had to do with how original it was. So, this one doesn't sound as fresh, but that doesn't make it any less good. Go get it.

H.T. Riekels

P.S. As much as I love it, something is keeping me from giving it the full five. Sorry Dan, but his one gets four.



Report this review (#211673) | Posted Saturday, April 18, 2009 | Review Permalink

avestin
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4 stars The Good is in great Form

Let me start by saying this: There are several bands and musicians that when I listen to their album I think to myself: “I wish I could compose music like this. I wish I would have composed this”. This is the case with Deluge Grander’s music.

This is the second Deluge Grander album, another musical delicatessen from Dan Britton’s creative mind (keyboards), along with his highly talented band mates, Dave Berggren (guitars), Brett d’Anon (bass) and Patrick Gaffney (drums). This time around Dan hired the services of a large lineup of classical musicians to enhance the sound and add more dimensions to the music. The musicians, mostly from College Park, in Maryland, bring in the lineup such instruments as cello, clarinet, flute, saxophone, violin, trumpet, trombone and oboe. This orchestral addition comes out very well and is best heard on the track Aggrandizement.

As this album is different somewhat in sound and also style to August In The Urals (which I love), I will not compare it to that one, but only mention, that in this album, Deluge Grander show a fabulous progression and change and adaptation of new ingredients in their music. This album is not as affluent and volumetric sounding as the previous one, but it sure does not lack anything in creativity, musicianship and beauty. Though the music has influences from the classic symphonic-prog-rock days along with jazzy touches and funk-sounding parts and also sounds that might fit very well in Canterbury scene albums (with that fuzzy sounding keyboard), this album presents fresh sounding music, that warms my heart each time I listen to it. Not only are the melodies captivating, but their execution is as good. I also hear some elements of Birds And Buildings’ highly energetic sound here in the third track, Common Era Cavemen.

In this album, Dan’s keyboard work takes a different approach from their previous album; more poignant, edgy and at times squeaky sounding (in a very good way). They are very much on the front of the mix, setting the tone and leading the way of the melody. The drumming by Gaffney is fantastic and seamlessly change rhythm and patterns as different sections of each track come about.

The album starts with Before The Common Era, which is as Dan writes in the release notes, the shortest piece Deluge Grander ever wrote and also the quietest one. Frank d’Anon, Brett’s uncle, again contributes here, and this time in the form of chanting. This track is an atmosphere creator, a mood and tone setting piece and it is quite restrained and mellow, but serves as an appropriate opener, though I might have put it in the middle of the album and opened with another track. But that is a minor detail. This opening track reaches a majestic climax brought about by the keyboards in its middle part and the goes back to its original volume level and theme. Listen to this (and the rest of the album) in high volume to achieve the best listening experience.

The intricacy, the swift changes from fast and dynamic to slower and charming – all of these are here. Take for example The Tree Factory with its several main themes assembled together into one woven coherent piece; there is one passage here at around 10:30 where the keyboards make a subtle yet heart warming sound to signal a rebirth of sorts, a dawning of a new time, the coming of a new part of melody which sounds familiar to what we heard in the beginning and yet is not the same; building a future based on the past, but improved. I hear here several styles, each one being dominant in one part (though not being the sole style prevalent); you have “conventional symphonic prog”, fusion and funk. Dan mentions in the attached release notes that he used a “conventional Supertramp-styled electric piano pattern” and this in fact adds a lot of warmth to the sound and this piece. I have to mention the wonderful drumming here by Patrick Gaffney, who does the wonderful transitions between the various themes and rhythms and provides highly engaging dynamics. The “decorations” of this track with the classical instruments is another well done feature.

The third piece, Common Era Cavemen, opens in a mellow fashion and then spurs into action with more great keyboards work that envelops everything and cast a spellbinding atmosphere and creates a vast and rich sound. All band members here do an excellent work (not to say it’s not the case in the other tracks, but here is a fine example of how well they play and mix it together). This piece doesn’t develop as much as the others in the album, being mostly, as Dan states, a “2-chord sequence”, but the intensity and the layers the instruments provide are such that I find myself drowning in sound here (in a good way) and get carried away by the power of this almost jam-like session. Brett d’Anon on bass and Dave Berggren on guitar provide excellent and powerful playing that make this piece work very well in addition to the saxophone playing by Brian Falkowski.

Aggrandizement, the center piece here which is also the longest track is a fabulous achievement. Starting in a mellow fashion (again) it gains power as it proceeds. Here the orchestral side gets the most exposure, as the other tracks in the album, while (most are) featuring them, aren’t as fully decorated with them as it is here. The opening segment is grandiose and then seamlessly flows into the band itself starting to play along with the orchestral side, making the band sound as rich as ever. To me they sound so good and natural together that I hope this kind of collaboration continues in future efforts by the band, even though, as Dan told me, it is a very elaborate project to write the parts for them, have them rehearse it, record it (and then re-write it, rehearse again and re-record etc.). But I think the result is more than worth it. This “Form” of the band, having an orchestral side, is a thing of beauty. The way the band sounds with the addition of the additional instruments unravels extra dimensions in the music and adds colors and imageries to the music that the lineup of four members, as talented as they are, can’t always create. This piece again is made up of several segments and like in their other epics, such as Inaugural Bash from their previous album, I find it to be very well arranged and put together, which is not an easy task at all. There are shifts from the magical and slow paced theme to a faster and louder part that reaches high levels of intensity. I think some might say that parts of it (such as the one from around 15 minutes onwards) are over the top and unnecessary, and while I understand such a comment, I simply love every minute of wonderful music this band can provide. It does get very loud sounding and can be overwhelming at some points, but I personally am not bothered by this. There are some hair-raising moments in here, such as in the very end, at 18:30, where you just about feel like the enlarged band is about to choke you with their wall of sound and it ends.

The title track, The Form Of The Good, opens with a quite foreboding sound and mood; as if something bad is going to happen. Is this the form of the Good? It goes on quite mellow but still powerful for about two minutes and then silences a bit for two more minutes with an air filled with suspense, setting a stage for something to happen, but we are not sure what. This section may remind you with its use of the enlarged lineup, of a Univers Zero theme where a menacing pattern develops to reach a peak but here the peak at about 4:30 turns out to sound very optimistic and not scary at all. A very well done arrangement and well structured. This benevolent sounding pattern dominates the track from here on, drawing the Form of the Good. And its Form is very attractive. Layers of sound built on this melody as well as additional re-arranging of it make this repetitive segment anything but dull.

The overall sound is not crystal clear and clean, but more rasp and raw, which fits the music very well and as Dan writes, this is not as polished sounding as other bands, but I feel this is not necessarily a drawback. The warm fuzzy sound of the music and especially the keyboards and saxophone are part of the heart of what makes this music be in such good form.

This album is another brilliant achievement from Deluge Grander. This is one of those albums I want to listen to again when it’s done. Surprisingly, it didn’t take as many listens to absorb it as August In The Urals did; perhaps because I knew what to expect and could follow more easily the structure of the different pieces. This album is a great joy to listen to. Highly recommended for both fans of the band (and Dan Britton’s other projects) and folks new to the band as well.



Report this review (#211726) | Posted Sunday, April 19, 2009 | Review Permalink








Edited by avestin - April 19 2009 at 18:48
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2009 at 20:11
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 19 2009 at 20:40
i cant wait to hear this sucka.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2009 at 00:16
I'm excited to hear this one, but I'm afraid it will be a while. I still haven't even fully digested Birds and Buildings yet, things have been a bit too hectic for music lately.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2009 at 01:29
after reading your review, and H.T. one i think i should get this album

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 20 2009 at 10:14
Nice.
 
I plan to get this one eventually, perhaps now, after reading those reviews, a little sooner.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 21 2009 at 07:46
I think it will be part of my next Laser's edge order.I'm really looking forward to listening to it since August in the Urals was such a masterpiece.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2009 at 14:28
This was posted by Deluge Grander Bassist, Christopher West, over at Progressive Ears showing the band rehearsing for Prog Day 2009:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB9UbjfHExI

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2009 at 14:35
What's this? Plato in my progressive rock?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 26 2009 at 14:47
If you want to save a few bucks and you don't mind MP3:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Form-of-the-Good/dp/B0029S18HU/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk

I just downloaded the album.Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 27 2009 at 01:34
Does anyone else feel like the drums are too low in the mix? Gaffney sounds like he's doing some interesting things but I can barely hear them, specifically in the middle of the Tree Factory.

Edited by Kestrel - July 27 2009 at 01:44
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2009 at 10:37
Originally posted by Mr ProgFreak Mr ProgFreak wrote:

If you want to save a few bucks and you don't mind MP3:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Form-of-the-Good/dp/B0029S18HU/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk

I just downloaded the album.Smile
I think that I am going to give them a try too.  $4.95 for an album almost always works for me. Clap  If I like it I will also be downloading August in the Urals for this same great price.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2009 at 10:53
Highly recommended, Deluge Grander is one of the best modern symph prog outfits around.  Not sure if I prefer this newest or August in the Urals but they are both terrific!
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