Clay Green's Polysorbate Masquerade Band: Tardigrade Space Rock! (de la Renaissance)
There's a good chance that a group name Clay Green's Polysorbate Masquerade Band will have you doing one of two things… Eagerly anticipating what a crazy outfit with a moniker like that could possibly sound like, or running for them far distant hills. Add in that the album in question – the fourth from this collective – is saddled with the title, Tardigrade Space Rock (de la Renaissance) and there's little doubt that only a few will even venture as far as listening.
From the album title, give or take that everything is a little echoing, forget the space rock references and drill down into the Renaissance. The basis for this album being the to take 'Renaissance themes and seamlessly interweave them into a pounding organ/guitar framework, accompanied by an integral rhythm section'. Imagine, if you will, Concerto situated Deep Purple happily jamming with A Passion Play era Jethro Tull and you won't be far away from the grandiose bombast going down. However, with some pieces adapted from music from the Renaissance period and the others inspired by that era, there's sometimes a feeling that what is laid out is being shoehorned into the rock setting, and yet strangely, some of it works to perfection. The faster, more frenetic pieces can come across as a little ramshackle and off the cuff, and yet arguably those elements add to the charm of the undoubted musical chops on display. Although, with some pieces as short as 42 seconds and only 5 of 17 darting over the 3 minute 30 minute mark, the main drawback of listening to this album in one sitting is the disjointed nature of what you find. Couple that with far too many fade outs and the dissatisfying air you're often left with is that the whole experience feels a little unfinished. Something that maybe comes from a desire not to steer too far from the original ethos of the pieces being reworked, when in truth, they already keep very little resemblance through their sheer rocked up authority.
The motivation behind this album is clearly one to be lauded and encouraged and yet due to the manner in which it's been constructed and presented, there's not much to draw you back for more. Somehow, excellent musicianship and admirable intentions haven't quite created the cohesive listening experience it should. If you have a real fascination for Renaissance music, that's a hurdle you may well overcome. If not, then I doubt you'll last the course with Tardigrade Space Rock more than once or twice...
1. Introduction (Dimensional Acceleration)
2. Proxima Centauri Dance (Vivace)
3. Requiem for Mass and Gravity in Gm
4. Sonata for a Lepton
5. Orbital Minuet in 7/8
6. Methone Allegro Breve No. 1
7. Methone Allegro Breve No. 2
8. Methone Allegro Breve No. 3
9. Plasma Movements
10. Gluon Guitar Interlude No. 1
11. Proxima Centauri Dance (Allegretto)
12. Gluon Guitar Interlude No. 2
13. Avant Particle Piece
14. Hydrogen Compound Duple Time
15. Passacaglia for Electron Bass
16. Multiverse Concerto
17. Fin (Dimensional Deceleration)
Added: March 18th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Clay Green's Polysorbate Masquerade Band at CD
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