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Secret Oyster - Vidunderlige Kælling [Aka: Astarte] CD (album) cover


Secret Oyster


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.28 | 39 ratings

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4 stars Secret Oyster already had Straight To The Krankenhaus in the can when the got commissioned to write the music for the ballet performance Vidunderlige Kælling. Being commissioned to write any piece of music can be challenging at the best of times, but music for a ballet? That is surely a test. The Secret Oyster's two early albums were adventurous wild progressive fusion and at times was wildly untamed. Scoring the music for a ballet would bring the band to a discipline. And Vidunderlige Kælling is a disciplined album, not too say boring or dull, but the musicians have grown together and writing in a more structured manner. Still, much of the tracks are open ended and adventurous making the most of the talents at this Danish bands disposal. The music on the album is vivid and engaging but does take a few listens to appreciate. "Stjernerne", the second song in the set is hewn from the same rock as the darker passages on the as then unreleased Straight To The Krankenhaus. Dark, moody and expressive and it highlights the excellent electric piano and layered synthesizer work of Kenneth Knudsen, often overshadowed by his band mates, guitarist Claus Bøling and horn player Karsten Vogel. "Sirene" is classic looping and hypnotic Secret Oyster while "Astarte" sees the band throwing in some eastern influence with Claus Bøling's sitar giving added depth to the quick paced mood. Unfortunately "Tango- Bourgoise" is just not as exciting or inspiring, but since I have not seen the ballet I can't say for sure if this tune is completely useless! Though it does serve as a quirky moment if nothing else. And for much of the rest of the album Secret Oyster play a typical high level and intensity, Bøling's guitar sound is wide and controlled with a superb tone, no more so than on the funky "Bellevue", think Blow By Blow era Jeff Beck, but the highlight of the album has to be the five minute plus album ender "Outro" with some cool sax playing from Vogel with a neat groove laid down by the rhythm section of bassist Jess Stæhr and drummer Ole Streenberg which allows the rest of the band to solo and fall free all over the space they create on the track. Plus the fact that there is a naked lady on the album cover makes this a very attractive proposition for any fans of the jazz rock fusion thing.
Philo | 4/5 |


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