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Caligonaut - Magnified as Giants CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.18 | 213 ratings

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5 stars Best album I've heard since the world changed!

"Caligonaut"- portmanteau of Latin words: "caligo" for mist, and "naut" for traveller/navigator. Known for guitar work with Oak, Airbag, and Gentle Knife, "Ole Michael Bjorndal" composed, plays guitar, and sings lead on Magnified as Giants. Bjorndal attended courses with Guitar Circle, formerly known as Guitar Craft, which was founded by Robert Fripp and uses new standard tuning. One of these courses was a week in Caorle, Italy directed by Fripp himself.

"Magnified as Giants" features the Wobbler trio: Lars Fredrik Frøislie on Hammond organ, mellotron, and piano. Andreas W. S. Prestmo contributes backup vocals. Kristian Karl Hultgren plays bass throughout the album. Arild Broter (Pymlico) and Henrik Fossum (Airbag) split drum duties. All Norwegian Daddio's! Yet, Caligonaut is entirely Bjorndal's baby. Bjorndal's powerful compositions, intimate vocals and lyrics color the landscape like Autumn foliage aflame. Bjorndal filters influences and the musicianship of contributing band members through the sieve of his vision, distilling four musical cognacs and brandies-intoxicating and exquisite in flavor.

Emperor 10/10 (14:35)- After a piano prelude, Bjørndal entices his band mates to donate the most ominous drum fills and astounding bass runs I've heard in a row. Bjørndal bribes the rhythm section to give up their treasures with a dramatic guitar riff, that limelights the drums and bass like a spotlight isolates a pair of figure skaters on an Olympic icefield. An evocative lead guitar drains into the song proper. I've been listening to Caligonaut's album for two months. It drips with anticipatory moments. As Emperor unfolds, I keep anticipating upcoming glorious passages... passages that make my hair tingle and my skin erupt in warm goose bumps. Wobbler's Lars Fredrik Froislie's analog keyboards meld with a rhythm section reminiscent of a combination of Wind and Wuthering and Nursery Crime. Vocal harmonies from the forest.

Emperor's lyrics reveal a toxic love affair between citizens and a national leader. Passionate heavy crush on an ideal mate, who in fact is a love bombing psychopath. A lush violin lingers. In this song, Bjordal's guitar doesn't sound like Steve Hackett's, but Bjordal's guitar lead makes my emotions feel like Steve Hackett's leads in The Music Box. Greek chorus of oak tree nymphs, backup harmonies foretell betrayal-

Hushed 9/10 (10:43)- is an emotive singer-songwriter symphonic art piece. Outstanding example of Fripp's Standard Tuning, fraught with explorations across misty autumn meadows and dreary forests of past relationships. An acoustic silver filigree guitar weaves around a cathedral organ. Hushed floats like Yes's "To Be Over". Deep-felt vocal melodies twist and turn. At times I felt like I was in an alternative universe where Anthony Philips rejoined Genesis on the Trick of the Tail album.

Magnified As Giants 9.5/10 (5:36)- Gorgeous hooks. Another Standard Tuned song. Most catchy song on the album. Can't get this song out of my head. In some passages, Bjordal's vocals remind me of David Bowie's. Wide open movements with plenty of room for the band to stretch out. Outstanding song writing and composition. Bottom line, superior compositions turn me on.

Lighter Than Air 9.5/10 (19:34)- Symphonic Epic spreads out, takes its time, totally delivers. Echoes of Meddle era Floyd. Bjorndal's sepia guitar solos soar like the seagull cornet at the end of the King Crimson song, Islands. Twelve string guitars. This guy must play with his fingers like Linsey Buckingham. Bass and Keys erupt like Spring bluebells against the softer wheat tones. This song makes me wish it were longer. Can't believe it goes by so fast. Bjordal sews his transitions seamlessly. Nothing awkward here. Drunk on the keyboards, my heart hitchhikes aboard another heavenly guitar lead. My nervous system surrenders. Superb production.

Bjorndal approaches his craft like an ancient woodworker who fells his own trees. Bjorndal fells a Porcupine Tree, an Oak, an old King Crimson Maple, and an Opeth Spruce. Bjorndal's carved and polished four personal woodcuts of prog poetry. The vinyl and CD sounds better than internet streams and Youtube. Truly, my favorite album since Hand Cannot Erase. Recommended for fans of superior composition, analog, and singer-songwriter symphonic prog. Magnified as Giants is an easy masterpiece of progressive rock.

omphaloskepsis | 5/5 |


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