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Eternal Return: Once Only

The coming together of two twosomes and a singular percussive force, Eternal Return and their album Once Only is all about the journey, the voyage, the never ending passage of the nomad. Belonging by not belonging, fleeting ownership and the continual movement to survive and flourish, or not, all portrayed through atmosphere. One of those previous collaborating pairings is made up of bassist Colin Edwin, whose pedigree with Porcupine Tree, ORk and No-man, is beyond question, and Estonian guitarist Robert Jürjendal from Toyah Wilcox, Fripp’s Crafty Guitar School and some intriguing solo work. The other coupling appears in the shape of Dogon, the coming together of Miguel Noya, (Venezuelan electronic musician) and Paul Godwin, who is a composer and singer. Add in Venezuelan percussionist Miguel Toro, who goes under the name Royal Dust and maybe it should be no surprise that the sounds they make are enigmatic shimmers that ask as many questions as they do provide answers.

Often more soundscape than song in structure, the unanticipated roaming guitar of “The Bottom Of The Pond” takes you into an idiosyncratic setting in which you’re never quite sure whether to be welcomed in or held stoically at arm’s length. This, however, is quite some way through the journey and prior comes an uneasy path that at first is so intent on its own process that the prospect of understanding feels far off. Time, as ever, is the great leveller and with it comes, well, maybe not understanding, but certainly a willingness to engage. That there appears to be an intentional ability to make the progression through the album less abrasive or stand offish as it unravels is both unexpected and rewarding. From the introductory and harsh “Nomad” to the smooth, lushness of “The Sky” the musical meander takes in world music, jazz, maybe slightly less forceful avant-garde and some accessible moments that verge into complex pop. It all makes for quite the journey and while I can’t, hand on heart, tell you it is one I’d take often, when I do, the nuances and clever shape shifting of Once Only offer up rich rewards.

Track Listing
1. Nomad
2. The Void
3. A Medium-Sized Village
4. The Triggering Town
5. The Bottom Of The Pond
6. The Sky

Added: July 4th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Eternal Return on NewDog
Hits: 571
Language: english

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