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King Of Agogik: From A To A

King Of Agogik is the brain child of German composer and multi-instrumentalist Hans Jörg Schmitz. The project began in 2006 with the release of Membranophobic, followed by Aleatorik System in 2008 and The Rhythmic Drawing Room in 2009. His latest is entitled From A To A and it is a solid album from the first song to the last.

This is another one of those albums that is difficult to categorize mainly because there are so many styles presented. Symphonic, ambient, heavy prog, metal and art rock just to name a few. Not only that but many styles are featured within the same song. With my first impressions it got a little confusing but after the dust settled the music became much more clearer.

The band does not get any more adventurous than in the twenty-one minute epic "From A…". This one has everything to satiate progressive rock aficionados; a myriad of keyboard sounds and textures, heavy guitar riffs, tension filled build ups, softer ambient sections, tempo changes galore and some heavy Chapman stick. That does not describe the entire song but you get my drift. My only complaint is some of the sections lack a smooth transition and it becomes a little disjointed. That said, I still enjoyed this track immensely.

The opening track "12 B.C." is an intriguing combination of progressive rock, metal and ambient touches. The distorted guitar chords slice and dice through sparse piano notes, a sort of minimalist approach.

A gentler tact is taken with the short "Moonboys" featuring the Spanish guitar of Phillip Schmitz before heavier sounds continue with the bombastic "Bongen", a song filled with lushly melodic keys and psychedelic guitar rhythms.

One of my favourite tracks is the strangely titled "Early Bird and the Edible Dormouse" taking on tones of early '70s Genesis and Pink Floyd. It is a keyboard driven slice of symphonic retro prog inundated with flourishes of fluttering Spanish guitar giving the song an added flair.

A few of songs feature only Schmitz including the heavy prog of "Tanks on High Street" with its fat bass rhythms and "Now", the album's last track featuring excellent drumming and softer art rock elements.

Some might find this album a little too much to take, especially in one sitting and I will admit it is quite long at over seventy-seven minutes. However, if you dig music filled to the brim with bombastic fun and adventurous twists and turns, From A To A should be quite enjoyable. I really liked it.


Track Listing:
1. 12 B.C. (5:00)
2. From A… (21:36)
3. Moonboys (0:55)
4. Bongen (4:39)
5. Capricorn (1:31)
6. Early Bird and the Edible Dormouse (4:44)
7. Personal Jungle (6:40)
8. Free Water (6:05)
9. "A" Theme (1:08)
10. Tanks on High Street (4:18)
11. Blue Tears (2:50)
12. …to A (11:24)
13. Now (6:36)

Added: November 9th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 7339
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

King Of Agogik: From A To A
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-11-09 11:24:38
My Score:

When I read the promo copy that accompanied this fourth release by King of Agogik — an instrumental solo project by German drummer Hans Jörg Schmitz — I became annoyed at the seemingly intentional opaqueness of the description of From A to A and its inability to provide any substantive information. Press materials (and the booklet, for that matter) call the album "a personal journey through time which neither attaches importance to completeness, objectivity nor to political correctness. For seventy-seven minutes a personal musical reflection of certain things and/or experiences takes place. Figures and thoughts from reminiscences or pure ideas about historical incidents which whether have happened in and around Antunnacum/Andernach … or doesn't so…"

WTF?

Schmitz is lucky I decided to even give this thing a listen. But I did, because that's my job.

This album is a mix of short (56 seconds) and long songs, anchored by the 21-and-a-half-minute "From A…," which runs the musical gamut from dense progressive metal to bells that echo Christmas carols. Its companion piece, "…to A," is equally compelling and diverse with percussion solos and dancing keys. Although separated by nine tracks, it would sound excellent played back-to-back with "From A…".

Elsewhere, "Personal Jungle," as the title suggests, takes on dark tribal overtones with nasty riffs, while the space rock of "Free Water" gives off an entirely different vibe. The brief Middle-Eastern-hued "Blue Tears" includes a German spoken-word passage that morphs into exotic female singing.

Schmitz plays drums, keyboards, "a bit of guitar and a little less bass," but he has not crafted such a compelling album on his own. His "royal players" include a dozen musicians and vocalists, and together they make tight — and dare I say majestic — music that will appeal to a broad range of prog fans. The album also is exquisitely produced by Schmitz.

In the end, there is so much happening over the course of these 77 minutes — so much impressive material tough to digest even after multiple spins — that perhaps From A to A should have been called From A to Z.




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