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Jet Black Sea - The Path of Least Existence CD (album) cover


Jet Black Sea


Crossover Prog

4.07 | 72 ratings

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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

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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