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Jack O' The Clock - Repetitions Of The Old City - II CD (album) cover

REPETITIONS OF THE OLD CITY - II

Jack O' The Clock

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 39 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars The busy and genius mind of Damon Waitkus and friends follows up the late 2016 release with a new masterpiece of unusual "Prog Folk." This may be my favorite Jack O' The Clock release with some truly memorable songs and the usual level of high quality composition, performance, and recording exceeding all previous levels. My one complaint of Damon's work remains the often "closed" or impenetrable nature of his lyrics due to the extremely personal nature of the subject matter of his stories.

THE BLIZZARD 1. "Damascus Gate" (2:20) a dream-like weave of electric, acoustic, and field recording sounds within which an effected collection of voices is warbling the preface of the story that follows. "What do you remember?" The Blizzard of 1978 must have burned some powerful memories into Mr. Waitkus. (4.5/5)

2. "Miracle Car Wash, 1978" (13:41) a mercurial musical journey used to take us through a chunk of Damon's recounting of a snow storm, the masterfully composed and rendered music, unfortunately, makes the most sense to it's composer, often leaving us out on a lurch, wondering "Why this twist?" "Why this turn?" (8.5/10)

3. "Island Time" (5:26) a song that stands out for it's totally different stylistic approach--both constructively and vocally--from any previous Jack O' The Clock song I've ever heard. The male vocal performance here is amazing. (Damon performing in a more choir-classical style?) (9.5/10)

4. "Errol at Twenty-Three" (3:58) Damon and a guzheng open this as the story of the Blizzard of 1978 continues. Multiple voices join in with several other folk instruments and percussives in a theatric/stage-like fashion. I imagine a stage performance of this song with costumes and fast-moving sets while the music is played from an orchestra pit below. Gorgeous, complex, genius, worthy of a Tony nomination! (9.5/10)

5. "Whiteout" (1:10) a multi-track looping of voices, percussives and electric instruments. Not sure how this concludes the blizzard story. (4/5)

INTERLUDE 6. "Guru On the Road" (5:51) A percussion-led instrumental with lots of string and wind/woodwind instruments playing into the weave. Not unlike a Markus Pajakkala (UTOPIANISTI) song. Beautiful! Even the inclusion of the laugh and studio end comment, "That's such a wild card." (9/10)

ARTIFACTS OF LOVE AND ISOLATION 7. "My Room Before Sleep" (2:10) Damon duet with a hammered dulcimer. (9/10)

8. "Into the Fireplace" (6:55) opens with "tuning" strings and winds before bursting into a thick, heavy, proggy weave at 0:45. What a delicious surprise! The singing versus return to the more sparsely orchestrated opening theme, but the thick wall of sound reappears with enough frequency to keep me on edge. the complexity of the overall weave of many instruments (and many voices) is also quite impressive, engaging, and beautiful. What a masterpiece of composition and collaboration! (10/10)

9. "Unger Reminisces" (1:27) a dreamy soundscape with commensurately dreamy effected vocals from multiple tracks of Damon. (5/5)

10. "I'm Afraid of Fucking the Whole Thing Up" (5:47) a strangely out-of-place story of an insecure, underconfident youth being told to do something useful--like going downtown to get a job. For a while I thought this second half of the album was the continuation of the Blizzard story. Musically this is more straightforward folk rock with a bluegrassy jazziness to it. (8.5/10)

11. "Double Door" (1:32) odd cacophony of instruments, voices, and field recordings. To what purpose? (3/5)

12. "A Sick Boy" (9:44) a song that has trouble hooking us both musically and lyrically--the story, and its accompanying music, are just not that engaging--are too personally projected from Damon's memories. If this is a concept album, then this is a disappointing lowpoint on which to end the album. Too bad! (8/10)

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of jazzy progressive folk music; masterful songwriting and performances that somehow keep the listener at an arm's length due to the highly personal nature of the stories they represent. What an awesome display of collaboration from a large and wide variety of instrumentalists in some quite complex compositions!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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