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The Psychedelic Ensemble - Mother's Rhymes CD (album) cover

MOTHER'S RHYMES

The Psychedelic Ensemble

 

Neo-Prog

3.90 | 81 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This project perfectly fits into the popular progressive rock tradition. It has song-writing and instrumental properties of seventies Genesis, notable portions of Jethro Tull (acoustics, use of organ, vocals, mixing) and quite a lot of Canterbury noodling ('Shaving is Boring' by Heatfield comes to mind). The musicality and virtuosity is all over the place and the compositions are full of ideas and variations on them. The sound pallets of the instruments are all clearly based on well-knows musicians like Hackett, Gilmour, Ian Anderson, Peter Gabriel and notably Phil Collins (his work as a drummer). Furthermore I would like to add that this album would have fitted nicely in the symphonic progressive genre, whereas clear cut neo-prog elements are hard to find.

As with most one-man projects, The Psychedelic Ensemble has some rather unbalanced traits, which is the main reason this album did not be become what clearly must be possible. The main problem is the mixing here with its 'everything all the time' mentality, reminding me of the most chaotic moments of Jethro Tull. Every instrument is front every-time. This especially true for the Phil Collins influenced drumming - which rather sounds like solo percussion than part of a rhythm section. During the second halve of the album, which is full of up-tempo Canterbury riffs this makes the music bordering unlistenable. Had this project been properly mixed and recorded in a way that a max of two musical elements would take center stage at a time, this same recording could have been significantly better. As it is, 'Mother's Rhymes' buries its notable musicianship and composition prowess in sludgy, chaotic musical landscapes that are indifferent as to what the listener is supposed to listen to. This is especially true for the important moments with vocals. Key moments of songwriting - in which vocals and lyrics should communicate where the listener is (emotionally and story-wise) - are just thrown under the bus of ever raging instrumental passages and poor mixing. A less chaotic instrumental piece with just guitar, piano and violin like 'Blind Mice' shows how much this group could even own up to Banco's most beautiful passages by just keeping things in check.

Please re-mix this album (and the ones preceding it!) and let some-one less 'into' this music take a fresh look at how it impacts on listeners. How to make key moments stand out. How a song itself sometimes needs to do its work. Make some hard choices, kill your darlings. This gathering of talent deserves much better.

friso | 3/5 |

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