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Gazpacho - Demon

Gazpacho
Demon
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 May 2014, 3:49 PM

GAZPACHO is a band from Oslo, Norway, that describe themselves as “ArtRock / Progressive / Neo-Progressive / Alternative” music. One critic who found them difficult to label called them “Classical Post-Ambient Nocturnal Atmospheric Neo-Progressive Folk World Rock”. The band has always maintained that their name is a very fitting descriptor to the sound. Formed in 1996, “Demon” is their eighth studio album released to date. A concept album with four tracks, the band calls it “the most complicated and strange” album they have made to date.  This is the kind of album you need to hear many times.

The opening track “I’ve Been Walking Pt. 1” begins very unassuming. Slowly it builds a little, with drum and other background instrumentation. The soft strokes of the piano keys provide much of the rhythm, until a distorted guitar asserts itself. Musically it is indeed an amalgam of many modern musical styles. Though this obviously isn’t making the radio, there are some really strong Pop sensibilities that are interwoven into the progressions. The atmospheric, violin ending does not seem connected to the earlier part of the song, which be design could be a statement of stark change in the “walk.”

“The Wizard of Altai Mountain” is a bit spritelier, as the plucks of stringed instrument keep it upbeat and fun.  As the keys come in, you have a little more of an ethereal feeling to the song.  Once again we have a sharp contrast as the accordion carries a Middle Eastern kind of feeling to the remainder of the track.  In and of itself, it’s an interesting and jovial little interlude. As the track fades out, it fades into the next song, “I’ve Been Walking, Pt. 2.”  At first, it’s a peaceful and joyous sound, with a little more going on musically than Part One. The melody line is pleasing but could be interpreted as despondent as much as happy.  I choose to feel melancholy as I hear it. The quiet passages of piano and violin are really moving if you take the time to appreciate them. As in the earlier movement, the addition of guitar really brings the track to life for me.  As it closes you are left with a peaceful sort of feeling.

Closing the album is the final track, “Death Room”.  If I am not mistaken, it’s mandolin that first carries the melody, in a three note, plucked string fashion. The pattern does impart an ominous feeling to the air around you, but in a very subtle way. Atmosphere really takes center stage in this track. If you don’t listen intently, you might miss the complexity and dichotomy that is occurring throughout the track, related to the song title. As the track lingers on, there are more and more layers added and it picks up steam along the way.

In sum, I think this style of music is the kind of thing that connects with certain people and/or certain situations, and therein lays the attraction to the sound. It just didn’t resonate with me personally.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. I’ve Been Walking Pt. 1
2. The Wizard of Altai Mountain
3. I’ve Been Walking Pt. 2
4. Death Room
Lineup:
Jan-Henrik Ohme – Vocals
Jon-Arne Vilbo – Guitars
Thomas Anderson – Keyboards
Kristian “Fido” Torp – Bass
Mikael Kromer – Violins
Lars Erik Asp – Drums
Record Label: Kscope Music
     


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