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FAR CORNER

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Far Corner picture
Far Corner biography
Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA in 2003 - Hiatus between 2009-2017

FAR CORNER surprised with an absolutely bracing, self-titled, debut. The quartet - mainly composed of bass, piano/keyboards, drums and cello - managed it to create a mixture of chamber music, zheul, rock and jazz. But regarding the cello one might also spot a slight heavy metal kind of style. According to their homepage they were influenced by Stranvinsky and Bartok as well as several prog bands from the 70's.

Their self-titled debut features composed as well as improvised music, everything very interesting and quite new according to the style.

If you like zheul, so called chamber rock with jazzy piano and don't mind a sometimes quite heavy, distorted cello you should check out FAR CORNER immediately. Tut! Check them out anyway, I'm sure you'll love it.

: : : Diddy : : :
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Milwaukee avant-rock quartet highly influenced by Stravinsky and Bartok. Their material is a blend of contemporary classical chamber music and rock with a touch of jazz - think Stravinsky and Bartok injected with some Jeff Beck and MAHAVISHNU. All four members are seasoned musicians, boasting either some classical training and/or years of performing experience in rock and jazz venues. They were masterminded by keyboardist Dan Maske (PAR LINDH PROJECT, TEMPUS, PARALLEL MIND) who handles the Grand piano, Hammond organ, synths and percussion. He is surrounded by bassist William Kopecky (of metal power trio KOPECKY and The FLYIN' RYAN BROTHERS), cellist Angela Schmidt, who sometimes uses a fuzz box to substitute for thrashing electric guitar parts, and drummer/percussionist Craig Walker who navigates off meters and rapid changes with aplomb.

Their eponymous album, released in September 2004, consists of a mixture of well structured pieces, some wild improvisation and a mixture of both, yet the music always stays focused even when the instruments' traditional limits are stretched (e.g., cello played in a heavy metal style, electric bass playing passages more akin to classical music). The result sounds like a blend of early ELP, KING CRIMSON, UNIVERS ZERO and PRESENT.

If you are looking for entertaining and provocative soundscapes, do lend an ear to FAR CORNER. A truly 'progressive' band.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy FAR CORNER Music


RiskRisk
Cuneiform 2018
$13.70
$16.60 (used)
EndangeredEndangered
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$15.70 (used)
Far CornerFar Corner
CUNEIFORM RECORDS 2017
$18.00 (used)

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FAR CORNER discography


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FAR CORNER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 42 ratings
Far Corner
2004
4.15 | 53 ratings
Endangered
2007
4.33 | 128 ratings
Risk
2018

FAR CORNER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FAR CORNER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FAR CORNER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Intermission
2009

FAR CORNER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FAR CORNER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Risk by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.33 | 128 ratings

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Risk
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by NickCrimsonII

5 stars Far Corner is a musical gem, and everything released by them is simply a musical adventure and a celebration, too. Diving deep into the avant-garde, this band features a quartet of keyboards, percussion, bass and cello. The four musicians seem not to have any limitations in terms of various influences, or masterful blending of styles. The band is highly influenced by Jazz music and Classical music (For example, the Bela Bartok influence is really strong; the band explores various themes and techniques) but above all the main stimulus of these musicians is the ground of free experimentation. Also, there are obvious similarities in some of Far Corner's compositions to notorious progressive bands from the 70s, like King Crimson or ELP. The band can proudly wave the progressive music flag, as they are undoubtedly an epitome of the very definition of this term. 'Risk' sees the band oriented towards a heavier sound, which results in explosive and mind-blowing tracks, such as 'Fork', 'Flim Flam Man', 'Laboratory Missteps', 'Summit', and 'Alea Ludere'. Highly recommended album for everyone who claims that there is nothing interesting and 'truly progressive' in the current musical climate.
 Risk by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.33 | 128 ratings

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Risk
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by tempest_77

5 stars The influence from Stravinsky and Bartok is truly evident even in the heavier moments of Far Corner's 2018 release. Risk is truly an excellent album with some stunning moments, ranging from beautiful classical chamber music to heavier, more metallic grooves. As always, the band's unusual instrumentation makes for a very unique sound, and the distorted cello really sells a lot of the songs on the record. Some personal favorites of mine include "Flim Flam Man", "Myopia", and "Summit". A lot of the longer songs in this type of music usually tend to drag on a bit too long for me, but the band does an excellent job of changing the sound up just enough to keep it interesting. Really an outstanding and very unique album, and possibly the best album of 2018.
 Risk by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.33 | 128 ratings

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Risk
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Far Corner is a band I haven't previously come across, although apparently this is their third studio album (albeit the first one in a few years). But when I started looking at the line-up, I realised that I have come across a couple of those involved prior to this. The rhythm section is made up of bassist William Kopecky and drummer Craig Walkner, who were also two thirds of Yeti Rain, whose album 'Stars Fall Darkly' I raved about some years back. However, I have been aware of William for more than 20 years and loved the band he formed with his brothers in the Nineties, Kopecky. As ever, he provides a bass sound which takes Chris Squire as an influence, and then becomes even deeper and distorted. There are sections on the album when it is just him and Craig, who wouldn't know a standard 4/4 pattern even if it tried to introduce itself nicely, yet one doesn't miss the other instruments when they are acting as a duo. The others? Yes, this is a quartet, with Dan Maske on keyboards and Angela Schmidt on cello (Jerry Loughney guests on violin on a few songs). It is hard to really describe what the band are attempting to achieve, but imagine late Sixties progressive (in its truest sense) music combining with classical, add in some RIO and Zeuhl, with more than the odd nod towards Art Zoyd and then you may just start to get an idea on what on earth is going on.

This is music which demands to be listened to, it isn't something that can be passed off in the background, as this is a force of nature that that at times is incredibly heavy and dynamic (who needs a guitar?). Dan tends to use sounds such as Hammond, Mellotron and Moog while Angela is out to prove that a cello can be an instrument of mass destruction in the right/wrong hands. I hate to think how many bow strings she demolished during the recording. This is an album of depth, power and passion, dynamic and relentless with every single person acting as a soloist and band leader even when they are all playing together. One can't afford to do anything else while this is on as there is just so much happening that it has to be concentrated on. This may seem that it is a hard album to listen to, but I found it incredibly easy and enjoyable on the first hearing. This is for anyone who is interested in progressive music which really is that, pushing boundaries and providing an immense album for those prepared to listen. It has been more than ten years since the last album, so when is the next one coming out?

 Risk by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.33 | 128 ratings

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Risk
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

5 stars The band is back after a hiatus of 10 years with a new release. Their music is instrumental avant-garde, angular with some dissonance, and odd time signatures. The sound of this music is in part possible because of the presence of the violin and cello instead of the traditional guitar. But what strikes me on this album is the tasty and crisp bass sound of William Kopecky who's playing is flying over the music. The band enjoys mixing metal and rock with chamber music with some very intense dark atmosphere that takes your breath away. There is also lighter mood with classical tones, piano, and violin especially at the end of the album. When I compare this album with the previous one, I would say that this one is their most rigorous, structured album to date in this kind of style with less improvisation and more symphonic and melodic structures. It's definitely going to reach a wider audience and be a serious candidate to the best album of 2018.
 Risk by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2018
4.33 | 128 ratings

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Risk
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Nogbad_The_Bad
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Eclectic Team

5 stars Well they are finally back after a decade away and the worry was will it be as good as previous releases. Well the good news is that it's not as good, it's even better! This is probably the bands strongest release. The line up is the same as previously, William Kopecky ' bass, Dan Maske ' keyboards, Angela Schmidt ' cello & Craig Walkner ' drums with the addition of guest Jerry Loughney ' violin. It still features all the rehearsal intensive composed music but rocks and bounces like a beast. For fans of Univers Zero, Henry Cow, DAAU, with 20th century classical composer references in a rock setting this is a must have. A contender for album of the year.
 Far Corner by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.94 | 42 ratings

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Far Corner
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars A company of experienced musicians from Milwaukee, Wisconcin, fronted by award-winning keyboardist Dan Maske.Far Corner came to life during the spring of 2003 with Maske being surrounded by bassist William Kopecky (from the Kopecky band), female cellist Angela Schmidt and percussion wizard Craig Walkner.After some lives around the Milwaukee area they were picked up by Steve Feigenbaum's Cuneiform Records and recorded their self-titled debut at the EDream Studios with guest contributions by Frederick Schmidt on clarinet and Heather Schmidt on flute.The album was released in September 2004.

Typical stuff of the Cuneiform catalogue, Far Corner's style is heavily rooted in Chamber, Classical and Jazz Music, performed over a Progressive Rock attitude, displaying complex rhythms and nervous twists with great energy.The music is atonal, complicated and intricate, featuring full cello strings and frenetic drumming/percussions with Kopecky's bass providing a huge background depth and Maske's performance creating sinister, organic textures or lush, piano-based segments.They kind of recall THE MUFFINS' more experimental period with a touch of MIRIODOR/YUGEN deep-sounding R.I.O. procedures, but the atmosphere in here is more cinematic and sterile due to the powerful presence of cello and intense focus on Kopecky's indredible bass executions.The organ parts of Maske seem to come out of the early-70's Psych Rock scene at moments and thIS fact adds Far Croner's sound an even more original touch.On the other hand this work contains plenty of full improvised moments in an excess of talent and free spirit, which I doubt they will offer some pleasure to casual Prog listeners.The tighter and structured pieces are of course more than impressive, flowing along the progressive principles and featuring emphatic, rich and dark moves, even if some of them sound a bit disjointed.

High-class, complex R.I.O.with experimental vibes, heading for the mystified listeners of the movement.Check out the aforementioned resemblances and it is more than sure you will like Far Corner's debut as well.Recommended.

 Endangered by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.15 | 53 ratings

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Endangered
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by 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.
 Far Corner by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.94 | 42 ratings

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Far Corner
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Man With Hat
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

4 stars The perfect album for one of those cold, dark, snowy nights.

The first time this album really hit me was on a dark night in February. My room was temporarily darkened due to an unfortunate accident with the main lighting system, so I was reduced to a small, darkly shaded lamp. This gave the room a very cabin in the mountains feel. Enough light to see in front of your, but the corners were filled with darkness and shadows all but flooded the rest of the room. Add to this the fact that it was snowing. And snowing at a decent rate of speed. This is the atmosphere I brought with me to my first listening of Far Corner's Far Corner.

That is what this album is about...atmosphere. Yes, the musicians are highly talented. Yes, the music is unpredicatable and exciting. Yes, the improvisations are interesting, even with repeated listens, but the atmosphere is what stands out to me, and places this a notch above. Far Corner fit into the chamber-prog (sub)category, although they excel at mixing that sound with rock and the avant- garde. As I said eariler, the performers are very talented musicians and all get a chance to shine throughout the disk. Another standout feature is the uniqueness of sound. Most of this can be attributed to Schmidt's cello and the emphasis on the lower end of the sound spectrum (which is expected of a band with a cello and a bass guitar [which is wonderfully mixed when contributing to the sound and never buried underneath the rest of the band]). Not to say the bass overpowers the rest either; The blending of instruments and sound is also quite astounding, as is thier ability to use melody into their avant leadings.

I won't say much about the indivdual tracks, being this is an album that needs to be heard to be appreciated. Silly Whim starts the album in a fairly atypical style. Less chambery, more rock (which is not a bad thing of course). Going Somewhere starts introducing the bands true sound, but its not until Something Out There where the band releases its full sound and glory. Part One, a beautifully performed avant chamber piece. This song really gives the feeling of hiding in a cave out in the wilderness, hearing various sounds outside and the fear that creeps into your mind that it could be something harmful. Part Two explodes with excellent drumming by Mr. Walker. The drums set the mood and the rest of the band portrays the more physical aspects of the song. The chase is on here...running, darting away, trying to be as agile as possible to avoid capture. Part Three, brings back the uneasiness of part one. Are you finally safe? Things seem to be going your way...until...With One Swipe Of It's Mighty Paw, which is another standout on this record. (As a side note, the track titles are really fitting for this music and for me do add to the atmosphere slightly. The same can be said for the cover, which is one of the most beautiful covers in music, in my opinoin, and certainly fits the music.) Throughout the rest of the album, nothing stays in one place...they jump from agitated, to spooky, to calming, to jazzy passages, without ever truly losing the excitment factor.

All in all, this is one of the finer examples of chamber prog from the new century. I really can't say anything bad about it (perhaps it might be a little long, but for me it still ends too soon). Fans of avant-prog, chamber musics, or music that really sets the mood check this one out as soon as possible. This might also be good for people who aren't huge fans of the avant side of prog, being melodic passages are used to a somewhat high degree. 4 to 4.5 stars. Recommended.

 Endangered by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.15 | 53 ratings

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Endangered
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. I actually like this one better than their debut. I found this one to be darker, moodier and even emotional on a couple of occasions.The subject is endangered species and some of the song titles as well as the shadow of the wolf on the cover and the deer skeleton inside the liner notes, really bring home how serious this problem is. Even where I live they want to expand the developement to where I have seen deer, fox and other wildlife.They will sacrifice all of that, all in the name (so they say) of progress. When we know it's all in the name of money. As for the band, three of them are classically trained and Maske and Schmidt have even written technical manuals on their respective instruments. Yes, this band has the chops and then some. The main instruments are bass, cello, keyboard / organ and drums. Other instruments are added as well.

"Inhuman" is an experimental track that is sort of an intro for the next one. This one is eerie and haunting. It's inhuman ! Sorry, I had to say it. The swirling organ sounds are a nice touch. Bass leads the way on this one, as it does on most of the tracks. Kopecky is brilliant ! "Do You Think I'm Spooky?" was recorded live and features pounding piano as drums join in followed by bass and organ. Great sound !I love the hammond organ before 3 minutes. Hypnotic drums after 4 minutes as piano is sprinkled in. "Creature Council" is an aggressive and heavy track. It features more beautiful organ runs, and the keys and drums are prominant. Check out the bass after 3 minutes ! The song does calm down with piano, bass and light drums but it's brief. Various sounds fill the air on this next uptempo section. It gets heavy 7 1/2 minutes in before the cello arrives. Dark piano melodies end it. In the liner notes they say that the style of music in this song reflects the "metal heads" in each one of them.

"Claw" is really each member making scratching noises anyway they could. It's dark and atmospheric with strange sounds. Funny but I found this song to be a little emotional just thinking of the wildlife and the different sounds they make in their habitat that may one day disappear. Of course their claws are used to survive in various ways. This track is very experimental and it works. "Not From Around Here" originally made me think of animals who are forced into populated areas because of their homes being removed, but the band unfortunately says this title was used because this song is different from the rest. It's a jazzy, brighter song with some nice piano and bass, lots of violin as well. "Endangered" is the epic track at almost 20 minutes. My original thoughts about this song were "this is what it sounds like to be endangered". And if you listen to this song with that mind set you can feel the animals fear, and hear them on the run. The haunting sounds, the build ups,the strange alarming noises, they all go into making my imagination run wild just like a good book.

What else to say ? I'm a big fan of this band, and I think this is their best work yet. I just wish this was as much a concept album as it is in my mind. Maybe the next one ?

 Far Corner by FAR CORNER album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.94 | 42 ratings

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Far Corner
Far Corner RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Take away the songs "Outside" and "Tracking" and i'd give this album 5 stars. The point is this record is too long and it would have been perfect at 60 minutes. Having made known my only complaint I wish to say that this is a stunning release.The piano and cello often lead the way although the bass lines are huge. Hey, there is no electric or acoustic guitar (didn't miss them), although I wish the Hammond organ played a greater role.The production is excellent.

"Silly Whim" has a nice heavy intro and then piano, cello, drums and organ lead the rest of the way. There is so much to digest here and it's so complex as well. This is exciting music. "Going Somewhere ?" is led mostly by the piano and cello and there are lots of tempo changes. "Something Out There" is actually a three song suite that is over 17 minutes in length.This song and the next "With One Swipe Of It's Mighty Paw" are my favourites. What I like so much about "Something Out There" is that they play a UNIVERS ZERO style of Chamber music that is both dark and atmospheric on the first and last part of the song. These two songs have little in the way of melody as sounds come and go and there's even a spooky vibe to the final section.The middle section is uptempo as drums are beaten furiously while the organ tries to keep up. The bass is so cool and I don't think i've ever heard a cello played like that before ! Like I said I didn't miss the guitar.

"With One Swipe Of It's Mighty Paw" is a title that recalls the album cover that is described as wildlife photography in the liner notes. You can see the animal tracks in the snow and ice. This is a heavy and uptempo track with powerful bass lines. Good organ solo 3 minutes in and the heavy sound is back before this one is over. This is such a great tune ! "Outside" is led again by cello and piano,although the bass and drums keep the rhthm heavy. "Tracking" is uptempo to start with. A climate change 2 minutes in as things slow down with piano and a darker mood. It kicks back in with 2 minutes to go and the drumming is outstanding after 4 minutes. "The Turning" opens with some beautiful piano and it's 2 1/2 minutes in before we get a full sound. Crisp drumming and the cello shines, but it's the piano that is the main focus until the cello gradually takes over that role. "Fiction" is over 16 minutes long and worth the wait. The first 3 minutes are more of the same but then it slows down with some flute melodies. The song picks back up with cello and piano leading the way 6 minutes in. Some aggressive cello follows then we get some chunky bass then some eerie cello. A great atmosphere 11 1/2 minutes in with cello and bass that is very UNIVERS ZERO-like Chamber music. Piano melodies come in as the song speeds up and builds. Hey the organ is back.

Easily 4 stars.

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