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Jet Black Sea - The Path Of Least Existence CD (album) cover

THE PATH OF LEAST EXISTENCE

Jet Black Sea

 

Crossover Prog

4.02 | 71 ratings

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marbles259
5 stars How often, when listening to a new album for the first time do you think: That was good, I enjoyed that? 10 times a year perhaps? Probably more?

How often, when listening to a new album for the first time are you totally blown away? Once every year or two?

How often, when listening to a new album for the first time are you blown away, chewed up, taken on an innovative sonic journey, spat out breathless and wondering how the hell that just happened? Maybe once every three years? Five years? Less?

And now consider: how often does the latter happen and is still happening by the fifth listen?..the sixth?.the tenth?

I ask you to contemplate these questions carefully because when you listen to "The Path of Least Existence" you should be prepared for the last of these. Albums rarely have this sort of immediate effect on me but Jet Black Sea (the duo of Adrian Jones (Nine Stones Close) and Michel Simons) have created something so different, so unexpected that I fail to see how the effect could have been any different.

The album's power lies in its ability to pull in and hold the listener captivated for its entire length, without them realizing just how much time has passed. The duo obviously set no boundaries with the musical themes and styles they wish to explore; all within the context of an instrumental album.

The epic 19 minute title track (split into two parts which bookend the album) begins drone-like, building steadily via passages reminiscent of Dead Can Dance towards some exceptionally exquisite guitar work. The second half of the track, picking up where the first left of, is a triumph; the solos are gut-wrenching and powerful. The final four minutes of the album will tear your heart out. The melancholic interplay between guitar and keyboard providing a quiet but utterly majestic coda.

In between these bookends, seven other tracks take us onward through a maelstrom of emotion and sensation without letting up for a moment.

'Outnumbered' flows directly from Part One of the title track, until a couple of minutes in, a new beat arises and the song begins to build again, almost bluesy, with some frills evocative of The Doors. A piano melody that wouldn't be out of place on a Tangerine Dream album takes over and begins to take us in a new direction, until at just over five minutes in, the song ignites and thus commences one of the heaviest and finest guitar solos on the album.

'The Law of Diminishing Returns' may be the most mysterious, enigmatic track on the album. Crashing percussion and swirling, eddying guitar and keyboards reverberations surround us and continue to draw us ever closer to the secret within.

Worst Case Scenario is the most unexpected track on the album. A celebration of ingenuity, individuality and experimentation.

Cage of Myself (Part I) / Northern Exposure / Cage of Myself (Part II) are a trilogy in themselves, devastating in their simplicity, particularly the middle track of the three, driven by a mournful piano track.

The penultimate track 'The Jet Black Sea' is a master class of instrumental construction. The central guitar solo manages to be somehow in the foreground and background simultaneously. The ominous, tormenting keyboard passages providing ever deepening darkness. In its early sections it brings Tangerine Dream back to mind once more but later in the track Floydian influences are more evident.

The album's 57 minutes rush past in a heartbeat and you'll be reaching to restart it before the final note has faded away.

This is an album you need to hear.

marbles259 | 5/5 |

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