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Sparkle In Grey - The Calendar CD (album) cover


Sparkle In Grey


Post Rock/Math rock

3.95 | 6 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Sparkle in the Grey is a new act for me. What caught my attention, aside from the whimsical artwork, was the "concept" of The Calendar, with each piece representing a given month (and a mysterious thirteenth tacked on at the end). Many times because of the instrumentation, I am reminded of the sadder passages in Ritual's The Hemulic Voluntary Band, but what that album had in spurts of dynamism, this album forgoes entirely. Rather than engaging the listener, it seems content to serve as cinematic music, often bleak with tiny bits of shine. Indeed, "Sparkle in the Grey" would have been an apt name for many of these pieces. Avoid this album if the desire is progressive electronic music in the traditional sense, but it will invite many listens if you have a fondness for simple, rural folk music.

"Ianuarius" Perhaps depicting a farm in the middle of winter, a slow-moving sense of idleness pervades the piece, with icy glockenspiel and only the steady plodding of guitar to keep the listener warm.

"Februarius" Ambient noises of a lonely villager moving about patter alongside plucked guitar and bittersweet strings.

"Martius" As though welcoming the forthcoming thaw, gentle ukulele introduces a more full-bodied acoustic guitar piece. The violin creates the feeling of a warm spring night, and, just like the insects that pester during one of those, strident electronic noises bite.

"Aprilis" Much brighter and warmer, a sleepy acoustic guitar accompanies that rich violin and now a melodica. Those piercing tones return, marring an otherwise beautiful performance.

"Maius" A static electroinic percussive tone rattles like Morse code, like someone tapping underneath the floorboards. The strings evoke a gorgeous springtime wedding.

"Iunius" The first summer month is honored with a plaintive but highly melodic piece, with multiple lead instruments bellowing out in rich counterpoint. As though to raise the mood, a giddy ukulele breaks up the plaintiveness.

"Quintilis" Although not abandoning the overall mood this album has created thus far, "Quintilis" includes a few strange melodic turns, dark piano, and grunting bass.

"Sextilis" The background bantering sounds like it came right out of a diner, while the music itself has a 1950s jazz approach, low and sleepy until the electronic percussion and ukulele change up the feel.

"September" As the air gets colder, so does the music, this time summoning a ghostly voice that hovers over dimly lit passages.

"October" Abounding strings give way to further soothing acoustic guitar. Inappropriate lead work that matches neither the flavor of the piece or the key jars the listener out of the reverie and back to reality. "November (Just Like Anything)" As the only piece to get a parenthetical note, I initially wondered if this one would stand out. The answer is clear soon enough: This is a song, a delightfully dated-sounding folk song with understated vocals.

"December" Going back to the colder, lonelier canvas, those delicate sounds over such a gray, empty sound evoke the feeling of staring outside on a cold December dusk when it looks like it might snow, but only dribbles of sleet drop out of the stony heavens.

"The Thirteenth Month" Echoing bass rumbles beneath a host of strings.

Epignosis | 3/5 |


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