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Fjieri - Endless CD (album) cover

ENDLESS

Fjieri

 

Neo-Prog

3.82 | 51 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I generally find myself in complete and total agreement with the astute Mellotron Storm when it comes to prog but why have a clone , after all we do have our own tastes (I am not such a huge Rush fan). Here is an example where we differ significantly , as I am a mammoth fan of the very recently departed and oh so regretted Mick Karn, a superlative bassist who simply redefined the fretless 4 string wobbler and took it into the rhythmic stratosphere. His magical fingers grace a piece here called "Ad Occhi Chiusi" and you will see what all my fuss is about. That being stated, I adore ambient music, always have and always will , as floating in dreamland is a personal heaven and refuge from life's basic injustice (without the necessary use of any drugs BTW).

This Italian album is a killer when listened to properly, a sizzling set of moody soundscapes that are somewhere in Porcupine Tree grooveland and the No-Man catalogue, both reputedly shepherded by some Steven Wilson fellow. Fellow Italians No Sound may also be a reference , although this material is bit more rhythmic. So it will come to no surprise that we have a few known guests here besides Karn, namely ex-Japan partner Richard Barbieri on synths, the impressive Gavin Harrison on drums and the suave vocals of Tim Bowness. When prog is bass-led, I generally find myself rapt in gaga agreement, as I am finding groove beats so rewarding in terms of movement and pace, atmosphere and aura. Now decorate the deal with ornate keys (namely the elegant piano), some fascinating strings (cello), a singe of clarinet and wrap it all up with riveting guitar breaks and solos, plus a dash of sound effects to give it a modern sheen and presto!

All is delicious here; the opener "A Reality Apart" sets the table with a dreamy, fizzy ambiance, the rambling bass plowing forward through the swirling effects, a basic guitar riff and unending stops and starts characterize the composition. "A Big Hope" introduces a continuum of sorts with Elio Lori's rubbery fretless bass leading the way across a subtle piano motif, caressed by ornate synth swells and some acrobatic lead guitar. But when the somber cello slides in, the mood increases and the beauty of the melody is heightened. A simmering axe solo gracefully decorates the piece, courtesy of Nicola Lori. The afore mentioned "Ad Occhi Chiusi" (Closed Eyes) presents some tired Italian vocals, half whisper and half plaintive regret, whilst Karn's swirly fretless scours the carpet relentlessly. Sax and clarinet recalls his solo album material. Gavin drums the drum. "Marcinelle" continues the aural incantation with French narration effects, a preamble to the delicate harmonics that gently infuse the teaming neo-electronica, crowned by another searchlight guitar solo that soars magically. Panting voices augment the mystery. Luscious music, indeed. It only gets better with the next 2 tracks, the texturally splendid "Breathing the Thin Air" that heralds Tim Bowness' handling of the vocal microphone as only he can (arguably one of the most distinct voices in prog) and a sultry companion to the No-Man catalogue. Smooth, melancholic and distressing, the band gives the proceedings a harder edge yet still showcasing some wondrous piano runs and a plethora of various sonic effects. The cello haunts once again (such a brilliant instrument!!), a truly precious track. The longest track, the 7 minute+ "Endless" has Bowness following through once again on his heavenly promise, a slithering wisp of tortuous space , careening synth loops and hoops, funky guitar scratches and Harrison pounding hard and mighty. The mid-section decides to ratchet up the angst and the mood gets quite heated, furthering one from the too navel gazing ambient tag that some may label this extraordinary music. (John, you got to give this another spin! This is down your hedgehog forest!) . "Soul Eaters" has a female lead vocal in Japanese/English that has shades of Toyah Wilcox, Kate Bush or Terri Roche, a screeching vocal whirl led by that Karn fellow again. This is not ambient at all, but closer to Exposure era Fripp, an edgy, nervous almost neurotic piece that pings and pongs wildly. A brash trashy guitar foray adorns the deal, original to say the least. "The Breath of the Earth" is my fave here, a pounding beat (Gavin, you rock, buddy), a simple riff and a metronomic bass (played by Nicola), an evocative instrumental that astounds and playfully bounds in rocky territory. The axe solo has a Holdsworth touch, whirling dervish of crazy notes ascending, all kept tightly in check with an amazing groove. Wow! The brief "Lotus Flower" puts the final stroke on this much-maligned recording that is also graced with a beautiful cover and general artwork A huge winner and my kind of music. 5 azure arches

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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