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Daal - Dances Of The Drastic Navels CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.02 | 207 ratings

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3 stars Alfio Costa's brainchild from 2014 has fallen short of the previous release with which I am familiar, 2012's Dodecahedron. From first listen to this my twenty-somethingth I have felt the same: that something is lacking, something causes this mix of very different songs to fall short. To be sure, Dodecahedron left me with very high expectations. Maybe this is the whole problem, but I think not. I think it's more. Some intangible zing or emotion or excitability is missing. It is competent but flat, professional but lacking freshness or innovation.

1. "Malleus Malleficarum" (10:17) is a driving, trip-hoppy instrumental that sounds like it could have been taken straight off of the Dodecahedron album. Tension and drama are all-pervasive, setting up for psychological "fight scenes" in the fifth minute as played out by electric lead guitar, spacey synth incidentals and percussion. The music slowly rebuilds as a slide guitar solo plays before piano arpeggios enter and try to soothe us. Then, at 7:48, the original hard-driving section bursts back onto the scene to play out almost till the eerie spacey end. Unfortunately there is nothing in this song that catches hold of me and makes me want to come back. (7/10)

2. "Elektra (an evening with?)" (7:42) opens with some Frippertronics playing over a succession of several sustained low synth chords. At 1:30 another synth enters and ten seconds later a programmed world drum sequence. Then at 2:33 the listener is jarred awake by two strokes of a guitar/bass power chord. A new sequence of power chords is established with synths and drums in support to set up a bluesy Gilmour-esque guitar solo. By the five minute mark this has stopped and some spacey synth sounds wash over the otherwise empty soundscape. In the seventh minute the Frippertronics have returned along with bass, drums and piano. Awesome section! Continues to the ending piano notes. (8/10)

3. "Lilith" (4:15) is a decent cinematic ambient Math Rock kind of song. Built from a base of piano and acoustic guitar arpeggios, tuned and untuned percussives and bass, synth, and electric guitar chords are added, little by little, with the usual climb toward peak and climax, then again in a different and less dynamic way. Well done, if nothing particularly extraordinary. (8/10)

4. "The Dance of the Drastic Navels" (23:50) is an epic suite that lacks anything new or extraordinary. It kind of plods along and puts forward several synth sounds and computer programmed "instruments" that, to these ears, sound awkward and even cheesy or cheap. (I know from all of the keyboards my brother has collected over the years that not every keyboard nor is every computer sound created equally.) The most interesting part of the song is the 'psychological breakdown' of the piano player near the very end! (7/10)

5. "Inside You" (5:20) is the highlight of the album due to the extraordinary vocal contribution of Prog Folk singer Tirill Mohn. Unfortunately this song is constructed with very, very basic elements: first verse with slow piano chords for accompaniment, second with the 'gentle crash' arrival of cello, fretless bass, drums and acoustic guitar. The "C" section's cello solo is gorgeous but none so gorgeous as any whisper, "Ahh" or word from the angelic Tirlll. The song tries to end strong but? It is a beautiful and memorable song but not anything that will keep one coming back in order to unravel its hidden secrets. (9/10)

After 2012's solid Dodecahedron I had high expectations for their next release but this, unfortunately, feels like DAAL by the numbers; it's missing passion and fire.

3.5 star effort rated down.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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