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Burnt Belief - Etymology CD (album) cover

ETYMOLOGY

Burnt Belief

 

Crossover Prog

3.64 | 13 ratings

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Windhawk
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Multinational project BURNT BELIEF was, from what I understand, instigated when guitarist Jon Durant and bassist Colin Edwin collaborated for an album they chose to call Burnt Belief, and the name of that album was then chosen when they decided to make more music as a creative partnership. So while there is in fact two Burnt Belief albums, "Etymology" is the first one to be released under that artist name. The CD was released in the fall of 2014 through Jon Durant's own label Alchemy Records.

One aspect of this production worth mentioning is that aside from a piano, no keyboards was used in the creation of this music. The guitar, in various guises, is the instrument used to create most of the sounds, effects and textures that will make most listener think about keyboards or synthesizers. You will have to give this CD a spin to understand just why I mention this little factoid I guess, but it is still a detail to take note of for future reference.

As for the music itself, I suspect this is one of those albums that will have genre nerds tearing their hair out while having a look of slight despair in their face. Pigeonholing or categorizing this production into any specified niche is a task that would make even hardened masochists cry out for the task given to them being just too sadistic. Personally I suspect that I'll file it under jazzrock somewhere, probably with a note stating contemporary attached.

It's not that this is a purebred jazzrock production, but many of the compositions does fall within that range as I experience them, and in addition there are numerous instances of instruments providing jazz-oriented details throughout. Rhythms and bass in particular, but not exclusively by any means. Guitarist Durant as well as guest violinist Bingham also caters to details in that department quite nicely.

This album isn't really about style or genre though, but more about a certain approach I suspect, where the stylistic attributes are rather more accidental. Hovering, floating, ambient sound textures is a central feature throughout, sometimes as more of an ethereal soft presence, on other occasions with more of a cosmic laden expression, but also with a firmer, distinct sound of the kind that brings automatic associations towards the likes of Robert Fripp with them. Backed by appealing drum patterns, percussion and electronic rhythms and intriguing basslines, we're taken on a multitude of different rides with those main elements, supplemented by various instances of elegantly plucked guitar motifs, firm but dampened guitar riffs, occasional darker toned and more dominating guitar riffs and effects and a liberal amount of guitar solo sequences as an additional feature.

The songs tend to ebb and flow in pace and intensity, with just as much room for a delicate, cinematic ambient interlude as for tighter passages that, at least on one occasion, actually brought Porcupine Tree to mind ever so slightly. Unusual and mystical arrangements are created, adding a touch of world music to the proceedings, on other occasions the composition may sound rather similar to an early 1980's King Crimson piece, and if someone ever desired to investigate the bastard child of the latter and late 80's Ozric Tentacles, bonus track Charlatan caters for such a desire quite nicely.

But whether this creative duo are exploring more ambient landscapes, Crimsonian sounds or more cosmic or mystical sounding territories, there's always some jazz or jazzrock details either present or not too far away. As such I would suspect that liberal minded jazzrock fans would be something of a key audience for this album, although much the same can be said for those with a soft spot for ambient music as well as an expansive taste for diverse music in general and elegant, sophisticated music of multiple genres in particular.

Windhawk | 4/5 |

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