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Finnegans Wake - The Bird And The Sky Above CD (album) cover

THE BIRD AND THE SKY ABOVE

Finnegans Wake

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.16 | 17 ratings

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Music By Mail
4 stars The new and 6th album by Finnegans Wake will undoubtedly surprise many! If the previous albums were characterized by an increasing complexity in writing arrangements, the new one will be found at the opposite end: free and contemplating! I am anyway firmly convinced that there still is a continuity in Henry Krutzen's work and it will be found in Brazil, where he currently lives when not in Belgium. The connection with Brazil already started with the 4th album, where quite a few musicians from this country were part of the line-up. Flutist Alexandre Johnson was one of them, that is also present here and provides us with an extra link from "4th" to "The Bird And The Sky Above". If the title isn't enough a cue, then yes, the new album is populated by many birds! Jazzman Eric Dolphy was fascinated by birds and wanted to reproduce their singing through his playing. Kreutzen is obviously more concerned by their attitude and ways of moving, flying. If at times a percussion may emulate the sound of a pecker, the entire record is focusing on birds moves. Birds are free in their nature and so are the musicians in the studio, giving us an incredible free playing sustained by arhythmical moves, atonal phrasings, a fantastic display of dynamics, breath and space, reflective moments and other more agitated with piano clusters. All this seems anyway to be tightly and magically controlled, we're not talking systematical freaky blowing in a wild free jazz sense. Even Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss seems to restrain himself in his interventions on bass sax (if you know him from his other projects like Spaltklang or Ulterior Lux, you will notice the difference!). No, it seems like we can hear, feel the depth of a forest (Brazilian tropical influence?), the air, the sky and .... the musicians are literally functioning like birds, individually or collectively! There is a lot of place for the peaceful flute playing of Johnson, the trumpet slides of Antônio de Pádua and various outbursts, springs, hops and flights by all the other players. As I said first, I'm pretty sure that some of the band's fans will be shocked by this and even maybe derouted! This album may be a side spring in Finnegans Wake's discography - I will not hesitate to give it 4 stars though - but it presents a fresh and outrageously ambitious challenge in the apparently very simple nature of bird's life. Open your ears and wings and you will be rewarded with a very unusual and strong experience. Enter the world of birds! Forget the tags like chamber prog, RIO or whatever stamp you expect to associate the band to: instead, hear them fly .... now, all around you ..... with you!
Music By Mail | 4/5 |

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