Daymoon: Fabric of Space Divine
A new Daymoon album already? Yes, I was surprised. Their last one, All Tomorrows, was an excellent, "regressive" set of love songs Lessing wrote for his wife Inês. This time, with Fabric of Space Divine, they embark on an even bolder course, as band leader Fred Lessing says, "The album recounts the history of the Universe, as profoundly misunderstood by Fred Lessing". I appreciate his humility, but this album does a wonderful job of not only entertaining those large concepts; it also brings with it an incredible range of talent and cultural experiences from around the globe to add to the soundscape.
Hopefully I will get the band members correct this time from the CD booklet and their website. Daymoon is: Fred Lessing, on guitars, woodwinds, vocals, keyboards, and ethnic instruments; André Marques, on acoustic & electric drums, keyboards, and backing vocals; Bruno Evangelista, on lead vocals, guitars, and keyboards; Renato Bonfim, on bass guitar, guitar, and backing vocals; Luís Estorninho, on bass guitar; Adriano Pereira, on reeds, woodwinds, percussion, guitar, and backing vocals; Joana Lessing, on keyboards, percussion, and backing vocals; Paulo Catroga, on keyboards, guitar and backing vocals; and Fernando Guiomar, on guitars.
However, as with All Tomorrows, they didn't stop there. They have added a number of global guest musicians: Michael Dorp, (of Flying Circus), on vocals; Hugo Flores, (of Factory of Dreams), on vocals; Helena Madeira, on Celtic harp; Vasco Patrício, on guitar; Jeff Markham, on vocals, and Beethoven, the deaf, (but not mute), cat.
"Singularity to Sol" opens this fine production with the "Big Bang" at the start of the universe as produced from the imagination of a guitar player. They follow this brilliant opening with soft acoustic guitar and flute. Like being taken back in time to early Tull or King Crimson. But it's going to get even better. Middle Eastern flutes add wonderful sounds to the mystery of the churning music developing.
"Seed of Complexity" opens quietly with flute and soft guitar, before Bruno Evangelista's vocals warmly escort us through the opening story lines, "Let there be light". Then, launching guitars, pounding drums, pulsating bass, and all of the sounds of the world unfolding before you, with flute leading the way. A nice almost flamenco guitar interlude with piano, bass, and drums fills the soundscape as the over nine minute adventure pulsates forward. They slow down midway through the piece to deliver some King Crimson meets the waters of "And You and I", with some Rush 2112 "Discovery" and "Cygnus" drums thrown in for good measure. Just brilliant. Takes me back to a time I remember as a lad, when I had all the time in the world to listen and discover the intricacies of music. The flute solo that follows is worth the price of admission alone. The CD has a wonderful companion booklet which describes all the sound and visual interpretations of each track in the album.
"Evolution" continues the flute and guitar rhythm of the last track before heavier drums and strings are added. The launching guitar solo and dreamy organ symphony that follows is another album highlight.
"Beyond Nature" changes direction as we seem to be moving through the desert, with delicate Egyptian rhythms. Michael Dorp sings the lyrics of an Egyptian poem as we move through a caravan of sound. Wonderful percussion, soft drums and pulsing guitar decorate the surroundings. "All eyes are on your beauty". Yes.
"Beyond Trinity" describes the band's view of Christianity through the voice of Bruno Evangelista, supported with flute, soft drums, piano and occasional bass. Later, the power of the pipe organ sounds ring well amongst the flute and soft acoustic guitar.
"Anthropocentrics" is an instrumental excursion which opens like some of my favorite Carl Palmer drum moments from early ELP. Sax is added to the mystery of the flute to give a new jazz variety to the sound.
"Beyond Multiplicity" takes us back to the sounds of the Middle East. Jeff Markham sings Moslem praises as Arabian music dances through the soundscape.
"Beyond Good and Evil" is a briefly narrated look at atheism through Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, set to interesting acoustic and electric guitar interplay with woodwinds and whistles.
Jeff Markham's almost Bowie meets early Bee Gee's vocals on "Middle" help introduce the second half of the album along with warm strings and flute. Piano, harpsichord, flute and a symphony of strings join in to add even more drama to the soundscape.
Markham continues his vocal quest above earth on "Ice Prospector", set to…imagine this…a reggae beat. Only in the mind of Lessing could this happen eh? Nice guitar interludes and a Beach Boys look at ice prospecting creates an imaginative combo.
"Digital" is a heavier, futuristic look at human data processing. Or the processing of human conscientiousness into the digital environment. Full of cool imaginative guitar and keyboard signatures.
"Europa in sight now". Yes travelling "where no man has gone before"…"Beyond". Great NASA voice transmission simulations intertwined with excellent keyboards, guitar, strings, and percussion. The ice drill has landed! Oh…and "We are not alone!"
"Grasping the Fabric" is full of cool synth keyboards and special effects as you would expect from the last track's discovery. The guitar soloing is intense. Slow drumming pounds out rhythm as the deep bass balances the sound.
"Twisting the Fabric" is like an excerpt from an Arjen Lucassen production full of space drama. Nice touch. Hugo Flores leads an almost choir of voices before taking the helm as lead vocalist to drive the story. The heavier bass, drums, keys and guitars help add to the desolate scene playing out through your speakers or earphones.
That flute interlude and guitar at the opening of "Beyond Zero Kelvin" is warm not cold. The power of that organ brings back so many memories. The lead guitar solos are almost Hackett-like. Bruno Evangelista's vocals return, set to the dynamic and symphonic support of the band. "My will be done, all shall be one. I shall live on in the Fabric of Space Divine".
"One" is a special effects and symphonic return to the "Big Bang" as chaos ensues.
This talented entourage, Daymoon, has brought a deep cultural and global understanding of the universe to the table for discussion with Fabric of Space Divine. Few bands can stand on the shoulders of their peers and hope to attempt what was commonplace during the seminal albums of the 1960's and 70s. For that alone, you have to marvel and congratulate Lessing and the band. This is not pop radio fodder. This is headphone/contemplative music. It will be difficult for most people to understand, let alone enjoy or like this…at first. Given time, it will take many of my generation back to an era where music like In the Wake of Poseidon, or Larks' Tongues in Aspic, filled college dorm rooms.
If your patient, you can appreciate the creativity and musicianship that went into this and some of the greatest music of the past. Sit back, put on the headphones and let your mind wander again.
1. Singularity to Sol
2. Seed of Complexity
4. Beyond Nature
5. Beyond Trinity
7. Beyond Multiplicity
8. Beyond Good and Evil
10. Ice Prospector
13. Grasping the Fabric
14. Twisting the Fabric
15. Beyond Zero Kelvin
Added: August 21st 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: daymoon-music.com
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|Daymoon: Fabric of Space Divine
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-08-21 10:46:59
Daymoon had their beginnings a few decades ago with the band Dead Landscape. They didn't last last very long, prog wasn't a big ticket item in the '80s, but out of the ashes formed Daymoon, a project developed by Fred Lessing. In 2012 the band released their debut All Tomorrows and now their brand new album Fabric Of Space Divine is out, which had its beginnings all the way back to 2002. It is a concept album based Stephen Baxter's (one of my favourite science fiction authors) Manifold books. It is a weighty concept; going back to the very beginning of the universe and continuing forward into the far future. The booklet comes with lyrics and explanatory notes on every song.
Hailing from Sintra, Portugal, this band is a tough one to pigeonhole. Their music is very diverse and has a variety of influences and styles. Yes this is progressive rock but it is also folk, jazz, ethnic, space, ambient and a few other genres I have yet to spot. Boring music this is not. The musicianship is also top notch and the variety of instruments the band uses is impressive. They do a great job incorporating woodwinds (saxophone, flute and clarinet) into the mix adding both melodic and dissonant textures.
The album consists of three parts; Complexity, Explanations and Expansion. Our journey begins with "Singularity To Sol", a tune that builds slowly incorporating different effects, eventually leading to a nice melody with some Eastern style accents. The ethnic feel continues with "Seed Of Complexity", a nice blending of acoustic guitar, flute and warm lead vocals. The song twists and turns through many themes, morphing through different genres like ambient, space and ethnic flavoured rock. In "Beyond Trinity", a pretty folk style ballad, the band owes as much to Neil Young as anyone else, and in "Digital" a spacier theme is explored with an awesome Gentle Giant-like vocal arrangement.
All the songs flow beautifully together so this is really an album that should be listened to in one sitting. From the music to the concept, Fabric Of Space Divine is an excellent album and one that I whole heartedly recommend.
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