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Far Corner - Endangered CD (album) cover

ENDANGERED

Far Corner

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.13 | 56 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A late prog discovery of mine that has left me quite impressed is "Endangered", a very late discovery indeed, since I'm convinced that had I managed to purchase this avant-prog gem one year before this review I'm starting to write now, my "best of 2007" personal list would have had some serious modifications. You can't turn back the clock, but you can praise a good musical work anyway. This is Far Corner's sophomore album: Far Corner is, together with Birdsongs, 5uu's, Thinking Plague, Estradasphere, French TV, Dr. Nerve et al., one of those intrepid bands from the USA that state a peculiar approach to the avant-garde side of art-rock with solid inspirations from old school RIO, zheul and, contemporary chamber experimental jazz. The case of Far Corner is that their nuclear sound tends to be more atmospheric and a bit less aggressive than most of their avant-rocker partners, which by no means indicates plain accessibility; you will also find somber darkness and robust tension in many passages of "Endangered", you can rest assured about it. 'Inhuman' states a sense of bizarre, eerie mystery that patently announces the arrival of some imminent explosion of doom and gloom - pure suspense Univers Zero style. The track's frenzy closure, with those pounding tribal drums and climatic organ progressions, adequately opens the door for the arrival of the more assertive piece 'Do You Think I'm Spooky?'. The straightforward accent of the sort of question borne on the title makes sense with the vital dynamics delivered through the track's development. The musical ideas portray a sense of darkness and controlled creepiness, yet it is also majestically appealing. 'Creature Council' goes to even more dynamic places, reinforcing the jazz-rock factor in such a way that it even gives some room for the inclusion of Emersonian elements in many piano and organ passages. The overall result sounds like a hybrid of "Uzed"-era UZ and a Crimsonized Return to Forever, plus some subtle touches of Magma (in some rhythmic pulsations and wild bass phrases). The cello interventions, that superficially may sound more like ornaments than anything else, actually serve as melodic complementations for the bass and keyboard inputs when not playing some brief, wicked solos. 'Claws' is a pure exercise on aleatory music: as always, it has to be enjoyed and interpreted as a manifesto against the rules of modern reason in favor of a Dadaistic concept of freedom. The introduction of the melodica momentarily provides some sort of candor among the resources of dreamy chaos, which at some point stops dragging around in ethereal disturbance and ends up focalized on the conclusive storm. 'Not From Around Here' is very jazzy, and that allows the band to explore its lyrical side (so far, unsuspected to some extent): while Maske states his exquisite piano lines, Schmidt manages to feature her cello's melodic drive combining the gentle delicacy of chamber music and the groove of jazz. You also have a bass solo in which Kopecky laterally emulates Stanley Clarke. Once this moment of melodic solace is over, the last 20- minutes are occupied by the namesake piece. 'Endangered' delivers a sort of compendium of the most recurrent sonic strategies displayed in the preceding repertoire: strong yet not overwhelmingly dark moods of gloom, jazz-rock dynamics, weird musique concrete interludes, passages dominated by pulsating syncopations, plain tributes to old school chamber rock. The plethoric finale (including trumpet deliveries by Maske himself) completes the final build-up perfectly. "Endangered" has to be one of the most brilliant avant-prog efforts released in the last two or three years: an excellent endeavor by Far Corner, a band we should pay more attention to.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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