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Vespero - Lique Mekwas CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.81 | 96 ratings

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4 stars Finally, Vespero gets back on track to fulfill the amazing potential that they had shown through the Naughties with their Liventure live albums and especially through their wonderful 2010 studio album, By the Waters of Tomorrow. Every move the band makes here shows maturity, confidence and sensibility. Great melodies, great changes of pace--even in the middle of songs, not as much reliance on the psy-reggae rhythms of the recent past. It's a long disc coming out at 75 minutes but it is very rewarding listen--no fluff, all substance and intrigue--and with an awesome story being told in concept album form. Guitars, keys, bass, sax and violins are all strongly present with the prominently featured creativity of master rhythmatists, Ivan Fedotov and Alexander Timakov. This could be a masterpiece. Let me get to know it better.

1. "The Course Of Abagaz" (16:18) opens with bass rapid harmonics play which quickly turns into some awesome rapid firm bass and rhythm guitar lines to support soaring sustained guitar notes performing the leads for the first three minutes. Tenor sax takes front and center over the next two minutes before giving way to more electric guitar. The awesome rhythm section sustains its breakneck speed throughout the first seven minutes of this long song--it sounds kind of like a SANTANA jam--which could be a problem in monotony were it not for the various soloists performing their interesting expositions. At the seven minute mark all instruments stop save for the spacey sounds produced by keyboards and flanged and other treated instruments. What sounds like a Mellotron (but is more likely a heavily treated violin) and Reggae-ish bass establish themselves as the new leads in this cool, slowed down section. PINK FLOYD and HAWKWIND come to mind here--especially as the synths take more of the foreground presence. Violin, guitar and sax solo at the same time, weaving their melodies into the spacey soundscape. What a trip! At 13:36 the music slows and a guitar signals a return to the SANTANA-like jam of the opening. Distorted keyboard has the first solo before echoed sax takes a brief turn, but it is the keys that carry it home to the end. Great song. (9/10)

2. "Ras Dashen" (9:31) opens slowly, establishing a nice laid back groove with bass and congas and other hand percussives, with some HACKETT-esque volume pedal controlled soloing over the top for the first two minutes. Violin gets the next turn as guitar and keys establish some spacey weave beneath. Then its tenor sax in the fourth minute. Pause in the middle of the fifth minute allows a recalibration and then return to original pace only this time with full drum kit, staccato bass play and muted guitar chords providing that foundational weave for first keyboard solo and then violin. Drums get to shine a bit in the final two minutes. Probably my favorite song on the album. (9/10)

3. "Oromoo's Flashing Eyes" (10:00) opening with a nice little moving groove within which spacey synth noises and violin get to weave their sounds. In the third minute the song stops and restarts with drums and rhythm section establishing a new somewhat polyrhythmic direction (syncopated drum beats) over which tenor sax takes a turn. By the time the screaming electric guitar takes over the lead in the fifth minute the whole-band rhythm has again congealed into an insistent and unified thrum. Violin and guitar take turns with soli as the foundational music massages and hypnotizes the listener. (9/10)

4. "Abyssinian Ground" (8:20) is perhaps the odd song on the album as the folk melodies and odd rhythms and unorthodox time signatures force one to wake up and take notice. Who said Russians don't concern themselves with rhythm or time? Vespero are here proving them wrong. (9/10)

5. "Isidore's Prophet" (10:23) long and steady but not enough change, development or nuance. (8/10)

6. "Follow The Fitawrari" (8:49) has nice development with sax, violin, synths and incredible bass play. There is an awesome spacey section in the sixth minute. The seventh minute puts some PERCY JONES-like bass play beneath the jazz guitar lead. (9/10)

7. "The Emperor's Second Self" (11:39) has a very nice slow pace and development from the eerie, spacious opening to the end of the sixth minute. Up to that point all instruments seem to be floating around in their own daydreams. Then the instrumental threads congeal and weave into a cohesive expression. By the 8:00 mark the music is beginning to sound like a meditative/breathworks jam intended to take both listener and musician into altered states of consciousness. Beautiful and awesome! (9/10)

Overall, an awesome excursion into the spacey, rhythmically massaging world of Kosmisches Musik--done in a jazz fusion style!

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of prog rock and an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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