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Far Corner: Far Corner

Far Corner cold not be a more apropos name for this instrumental quartet from Milwaukee that employs a limited arsenal of instruments to make provocative and moody soundscapes. Seemingly originating from the deepest recesses (a far corner, if you will) of the human mind, the 10 compositions on Far Corner's self-titled debut come across as strangely familiar yet uncomfortably mysterious, almost forbidden. A big sound is created using a small palette of instrumental colors - fretless and "fretful" electric bass, grand piano, Hammond organ, synthesizers, acoustic and electric cellos and percussion - lending a chamber-orchestra dimension to Far Corner's music. Think Presence rewriting a Stravinsky composition in blood.

While most of Far Corner's experimental compositions are written by keyboard player Dan Maske, the band also excels at improvisation and has excellent knowledge of their respective instruments' capabilities. There are moments in the paradoxically titled opening track, "Silly Whim," that sound like they belong in the score to a horror film, while the improvised minimalist approach to the 17-minute three-part "Something Out There" still manages to leave deep sonic scars. By contrast, 'The Turning" adds delicate jazz flourishes to an upbeat tempo for a surprisingly chipper presentation. Despite Far Corner's inherent dark tendencies and dexterous musicians, the presence of masterful bassist William Kopecky - one-third of the bizarre yet fascinating prog-metal power trio Kopecky - gives this CD additional depth and tone. Even listeners who aren't typically drawn to instrumental albums may be enlightened by a visit to this Far Corner.

Recommended without hesitation.

Track Listing:
1) Silly Whim (4:54)
2) Going Somewhere (5:01)
3-5) Something Out There (17:17)
6) With One Swipe of its Mighty Paw (7:40)
7) Outside (5:25)
8) Tracking (6:33)
9) The Turning (7:39)
10) Fiction (16:24)
Total Time: 71:05

Added: November 3rd 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Far Corner Web Site
Hits: 4477
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Far Corner: Far Corner
Posted by Yves Dubé, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-11-03 09:02:37
My Score:

Right from the opening notes of Silly Whim we're plunged into the avant-rock/chamber sound of Far Corner . Gobs of acoustic keys and exploratory bass lines are punctuated by majestic cello passages, as the band blurs the lines seperating modern classical music, progressive rock, and avant-jazz. The music also hints at the newer RIO-influenced sound which is prevalent on most Cuneiform releases. The tracks always seem to be moving into new, unchartered territories, and never stagnate in any type of sameness. Although Far Corner appears to be the brainchild of keyboardist Dan Maske ( who penned all tracks and produced the disc), this is not merely a vehicle for his obvious talents on keys. Each song is crafted in a classical music tradition. Each band member is prevalent in the overall result of each number.

Although there isn't a bad track on the disc, the jazz fan in me must give particularly high marks to the 3-part Something Out There . It builds from an ominous, improvised, almost inauspicious beginning in part I to a superb keyboard/bass exchange courtesy of Mr Maske and bassist William Kopecky , accentuated by some at times frenetic electric cello by Angela Schmidt in part II.This carries the track into a more symphonic progressive realm. Part III showcases Dan on the grand piano in a minimalistic , yet effective, closing suite.

I could eternalize in dissecting every track on the disc ( like the 16:24 closing Fiction which runs the full spectrum of the band's repertoire with conviction and panache), or I could just proclaim that every song is an oyster containing a pearl. It has been a while since a band labelled ' progressive' has really captured my imagination the way Far Corner has. It has seemed to me as though this type of original, inspired playing has been coming mostly from the avant-jazz realm of late. Too late for Nearfest 2005 but these guys must be considered for the 2006 edition. I must back my colleague Mike here and give this disc full marks. Highest recommendation.

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