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Panzerpappa: Astromalist

Astromalist is the fine new recording from the Norwegian progressive fusion Panzerpappa. The band also has a stake 'neath the Rock-in-Opposition banner, yet the album isn't overstuffed with jarring key changes, soulsplitting dissonances and breakneck tempo schisms. Actually, this is much smoother an offering than normally anticipated for an RIO band, not even as angular as Il Berlione. Parts of the album flirt with the Canterbury sound originally popularized by The Soft Machine. Steinar Børve's saxophone and EWI and keyboards lead the stride of sonic gradations which are embellished by Jarle Storløkken's guitar textures. Drummer Trond Gjellum also deals some ethereallist moves with a KAOSsilator nad Tronofon, and bassist Anders K. Krabberød even covers a few bars on a piano for the closing piece.

A special mention goes to the album's impeccable mix, the handiwork of one Udi Koomran. The sonics of Astromalist are not only aesthetically pleasing, but the album will likely enjoy a gateway status for listeners ready to explore progressive rock's RIO and avant bands. This resonates sharply with "Anomia," which resembles a single and gives off a what-if-Happy-The-Man-weren't-influenced-by-the-70s-British-bands vibe with a smooth shale of strings and a sing-song accordion melody.

The militaristic cadence of "Femtende Marsj" is quaintly filmic and its successor "Ugler i Moseboka" is by contrast disarmingly straightforward in its scheme, with just a few well-placed nodules of menace in the middle to crush any notion of complacency. It's with the curiously-titled "Satam" that the music exudes more of the persona whose English moniker closely resembles that word. That, and its contours discernibly point to the Present, the RIO pillar band led by former Univers Zero guitarist Roger Trigaux. Univers Zero bassoonist Michel Berckmans does in fact appear on the title composition. From the lilt of Børve's sax intro to "Bati La Takton!" to the final thematic worldbuilding of "Knute på Tråden," Astromalist is one of the most important albums of 2012.

Tracks:

1. Bati La Takton! (5:34)
2. Anomia (4:13)
3. Femtende Marsj (4:03)
4. Ugler i Moseboka (7:37)
5. Satam (7:41)
6. Astromalist (5:05)
7. Knute på Tråden (9:14)

Added: December 31st 2012
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Score:
Related Link: Rune Grammofon
Hits: 2189
Language: english

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