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The Chronicles of Father Robin - The Songs & Tales of Airoea Book I: The Tale of Father Robin (State of Nature) CD (album) cover


The Chronicles of Father Robin


Symphonic Prog

4.29 | 132 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This is apparently the culmination of the machinations of a bunch of high school chums in Norway. The individuals, however, took 30 years of side roads on their way to the realization of their Chronicles of Father Robin plans.

1. "Prologue" (1:06) recorded noises from a seaside park--with cars going by on the highway behind and gentle seashore wave sounds, finishing off with close-up sounds of feet shuffling through beach stone before entering a cabin and shutting the door and, thus, the outside sounds.

2. "The Tale of Father Robin" (1:16) a little poetic folk intro that sounds like something that would come from a group of itenerant minstrels at the beginning of one of their ad hoc street performances. (4.333/5)

3. "Eleision Forest" (11:57) Very pleasant, broad folk-rock soundscape with unusually delicate upper register male vocals coming from the lead story teller. The heavier Uriah Heep-like spacer-motif is not as pleasant or fitting, but I love all of the elf- and fairy-like incidental voices and instrumental inputs coming from all sides of the broad soundstage. A chorus of vocalise backed by standard four-chord rock music begins at 4:50--also facilitating a nice synth solo over the myriad other instruments filling the field. The music--especially that coming from the rhythm section--is surprisingly simple and straightforward (as was somewhat common in the early era of progressive rock). The lead vocalist begins to sound more WOBBLER-like before the heavier rock motif supports a wild flute and other folkie instrumental free-for-all. The ninth minute again uses fairly simple, almost Led Zeppelin and/or Neil Young song structures to support a very loose jam of multiple instruments. Piano and organ with delicately strummed and picked acoustic guitar are featured with multiple sprite-like folk voices over the next bucolic passage until 10:20 when another "old rock" jam passage ensues (feeling/sounding like very early YES). Howe-like lead guitar with Wakeman-like organ play take us to the end--which is as slow fade. A song that captures the bohemian spirit of the late 1960s and early 1970s but is a little too wild and loose for me. (22/25)

4. "The Death of the Fair Maiden" (8:03) a CAMEL opening turns into a spacious Pink FLOYDIAN style over which myriad loosely-associated vocalists sing their medi'val-sounding folk-hippy lyrics. This sounds so much like those very first Wobbler albums: Hinterland and Afterglow, while the drums sound more like Rites at Dawn. The big difference between this music and Wobbler's is the (intentional, I think) looseness of both the playing and engineering: it's much more jam oriented than Wobbler's very precisely contrived musics--not unlike CAMEL. I also hear some of the old Stephen Stills-like frenzied guitar soloing in Andreas' soloing as I used to in the Rites at Dawn album. A nice song that really breings little new or exciting to the table other than the unusual (and wonderful) "loose" vocal array. (13.33333/15)

5. "Twilight Fields" (15:24) in this very WOBBLER-sounding song (I guess it's unavoidable with Wobbler's principle vocalist, Andreas Wettergreen Str'mman Prestmo, performing the lead vocals) I hear a lot of the NEKTAR sound and psychedelia with a bit more King CRIMSON dissonance and angularity. It's as if we're observing from the woods around an open glade in which some Pagan wizard is throwing together spell over a midnight cauldron. The stuff that folklore is made of (or the folklore that prog is made of). A song that evokes some very interesting imagery but ultimately fails to satisfy or bring me back for more. (26.25/30)

6. "Unicorn" (8:29) again we are definitely conjuring up a Nature scene with this slack-paced music. From the start it feels as if a group of friends are sitting around a fire pit in the gentle September night air, each picking up an instrument and then picking or tinkering away: sometimes synchronized and attuned, even entrained, but mostly playing from within their own private universes. Then the seventh minute arrives and, with it, the musicians become quite serious--as if the coherence of their collective jam holds some kind of protective or energetic power to ward off intruders/ill-wishers. This motif plays out to the song's finish and leaves me feeling very agitated and abandoned--as if the song and album are not properly completed. I really enjoyed and feel peacefully transported by the first six minutes, but the abrasive music of the final 2:40 leaves me cold and disquieted. Too bad. (17.75/20)

Total Time 46:15

Music that to my ears sound like a version of Wobbler that is even more intrenched in and imitative of the prog masters of the 1970s. Overall, I LOVE the primeval, pre-Industrial feel to the music and its subject matter; the songs feel as if they are created and performed out-of-doors in communal cooperation or for community entertainment and escapism--as in the harsh and fragile day-to-days of the untamed Middle Ages.

B/four stars; an excellent album of retro-folk rock that will please and feed many prog lovers.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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