Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 11

There’s something about a vocal and the exercise of distinctiveness.  On this Album Review Saturdays choices we’re exploring two vocalists, while in very dissimilar genres and bands, the range and lyrical content share a uniqueness that defines what it is to truly listen to an album and come to an appreciation for the art of it within the context of either bombastic instrumentation or sparse, ambient accompaniment.  Then our third album explores the truest of listening experiences that one can undertake, that of the classical range and somewhat limitations within the context of the song writing, but it’s somehow – still – distinctive.  Boom!  Yeah, you think I’m stretching it — after listening to these three albums since their releases this year, you will come to see just how they’re ‘stretching’ it.

In our video portion, I also review two other surprise albums!  See link below!

Jethro Tull – RökFlöte

Let me start out by admitting that I am still trying to get, understand, and accept this band into my collection, as well as my ear.  With that being said, I have always respected the musicianship and progressive nature of the mindfulness of this flute-infused progressive rock.  In most instances, the melding of unique forces of instrumentation continues to be something that sucks me completely in!  However, I’m usually put-off with the vocal delivery more so than the continued bombastic flute soloing that is yielded cleverly like the hammer of Thor.  And, in this Icelandic inspired record it’s in full throttle on both ends!  This is true ‘Tull’ in my experience, which I go down this rabbit hole often (attempting to finally get it — love it).  Fans of the style, the commitment, and Ian Anderson’s musical vision should be swelling with ear-filled excitement.  The Nordic lyrics are abound, delivered as expected, and nothing you can immediately pick up on without some sort of cliff notes.  The usual folk-progressiveness follows this album around like the Eye of Sauron or a drunkin’ Hobbit bar-fight, with some abrupt stops, and even an additional vocalist that might have come directly from the Nordic swells.  All that being said, I have to assume (as I struggle further in my Jethro Tull journey) it can only mean it’s worth it.  That those that already have unlocked the secret musical mysteries will love the story here, the distinctive solitary vocal range, the power of the Flute, and the orchestration providing a music-scape worthy of the overall earful vision that is RökFlöte.

 

The Band
  • Ian Anderson – vocals, concert flutes, alto flutes, flute d’amour, Irish whistle, production, mixing, engineering.
  • David Goodier – bass guitar.
  • John O’Hara – piano, keyboards, Hammond organ.
  • Scott Hammond – drums.
  • Joe Parrish-James – electric guitars, acoustic guitars, mandolin.
RökFlöte Track Listing:

1. Voluspo
2. Ginnungagap
3. Allfather
4. The Feathered Consort
5. Hammer on Hammer
6. Wolf Unchained
7. The Perfect One
8. Trickster (And the Mistletoe)
9. Cornucopia
10. The Navigators
11. Guardian’s Watch
12. Ithavoll

 

Esben and the Witch – Hold Sacred

The vocalist here, Rachel Davies, seems to be able to channel very dark emotive and soul-ripping tones in a range that does not use bombasticism but more control and sparseness, revealing truly realistic haunting doom metal — this time without all the doom sludge we might have been accustomed to from Esben and the Witch prior recordings.  In fact, this album might be the dark possession of Sade (work with me people).  This is minimalism that is heavy to swallow, delivered uniquely in a beauty that somewhat terrifying and still realistically loving, delivered on the edge of life’s end either by choice or by time’s demise.  Wow.  Maybe I’ve overstepped.  I have liked this band since their beginning, and this might be their most harrowing accomplishment, yet.  However, be warned, this is their sparsest album — I don’t recall drums of any kind, just keyboards and guitar virtuosity in ambient production, leaving us to the raw duties of Davies – amidst a dark room with a solitary candle burning uncertainly.

The Band
  • Rachel Davies – vocals, bass.
  • Thomas Fisher – guitar.
  • Daniel Copeman – Electronics, Keyboard (he is the drummer).
Hold Sacred Track Listing:

1. The Well
2. In Ecstasy
3. Fear Not
4. Silence, 1801
5. True Mirror
6. A Kaleidoscope
7. Heathen
8. The Depths
9. Petals Of Ash

 

 

 

 

Thibault Cauvin – Bach

There are no vocals here, but rich song writing composition delivered by the master of the music multiverse, tamer of over-proud musicians, Johann Sebastian Bach.  In this solo guitar interpretation from ridiculously talented, Thibault Cauvin of France, we experience a master guitarist’s delivery in a similar restrictive range of the two albums prior (vocally though).  Here the ‘Le Petit Prince of Six String’ dazzles our ears to what might be considered the extreme of Bach.  Now, I am not a classically trained musician.  I do not possess the depth of knowledge to critique as to whether he’s traditionally bound or taking liberties that would offend wig wearing officials sipping tea from obnoxious patterned ceramics, but I will tell you that I have head another wonderful player do a more classical approach, where as Mr. Cauvin is truly pushing the boundary of interpretation to really surprise the ear.  It’s dramatic and clever.  The recording is sublime thanks to whatever Cathedral or majestic church they did it in.  There’s no mistaking that kind of sound and quality of intimate and reverberation that comes with such detail.  If Mr. Cauvin is not on you radar, let me be the first to tell you what a wonderful rabbit hole you can take with this virtuoso!

 

Bach Track Listing:

1. I. Toccata
2. II. Fugue
3. Bach Autrement I (Inspired By Prelude, BWV 846)
4. Bach Autrement II (Inspired By Prelude, BWV 1007)
5. Bach Autrement III (Inspired By Prelude, BWV 855A)
6. I. Allemande
7. II. Courante
8. III. Sarabande
9. IV. Gigue
10. V. Chaconne

 

 

SEE MORE REVIEWS ON OUR “ALBUM REVIEW SATURDAY’S SHOWS”

This Episode 11, hosted by Beyond Your Radio creator, Mark Kuligowski, features discussing these albums, plus two (2) additional reviews of albums recently released!

https://youtu.be/ePcdadEo2hA

 

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