Saturday, October 29, 2011

Recommendation: Kvazar - A Giant's Lullaby (2005, Musea)


Many look for it. Many want to grasp it, bask in its comforting hands.
Many yearn for that moment when you reach this feeling through either satisfaction or happiness and joy.
The engines of such emotions can have a variety of causes: success and great achievements, reaching an epiphany or listening to sublime music...

Given the nature of this here blog, I will focus on the latter case of bliss inducing state - music.
More to the point, I'll tell you about a music album that does induce bliss in my mind and I hope it can do the same for you.

Said album, A Giant's Lullaby, was released in 2005 by the Norwegian band Kvazar. Already our journey into bliss begins with a reference to an out-of-earth experience.
But a quasar in itself is far from being serene and peaceful though a picture of one might give the wrong impression. Indeed, there's nothing calm about a center of a young galaxy that emits a very high level of electro-magnetic energy. And the music this group makes is somewhat reflective of said turbulence. But that just goes to show that bliss can be reached in various ways.

The music is not all tranquil and placid, on the contrary; there are dynamics in their compositions, a sonic tide. While a song might begin softly and immerse the listener in lush sounds and comforting gorgeous melodies, a powerful current of notes will follow in the footsteps, sometimes surprisingly so and flood the dry shores where you a moment ago lay your ears in peacefully.

The music on this album is a mixture of space and psychedelic rock with a few folk and jazz elements, but overall it is classic sounding progressive rock album. Their songs are beautiful and memorable, with development and buildup; they shift between a sense of tension to relief (listen to opening song, Flight of Shamash to hear all of that). 

For those who like lush keyboards and the mellotron, this album will provide those aplenty; goose-flesh moments are provided throughout the 10 songs.

The vocals are quite special, as Andre Jensen Deaya and Trude Bergli apply a sort of chanting style, sometimes evoking a sense of Gregorian chant. In other places they sing clearly but rather quietly such as in Choir Of Life and Dreams Of Butterflies.

In a way, the recent release by Nordagust, In The Mist Of Morning, is somewhat reminiscent of the atmosphere present in A Giant's Lullaby, though Kvazar's album is less depressive and bleak. But a similar dark-ish vibe and use of various stylistic elements connect the two. Perhaps it's a Norwegian thing...

This is one of those albums that upon listening I feel transported to a place where I can, for a brief moment in time, forget my troubles and worries (hard as that is for me). The music is glorious and grand, the songs well crafted and layered, the peaks in the songs are hair-raising; in other words, Bliss.

With this album, I prefer to (like in most cases) to listen to album as a whole. Somehow listening to just one song, misses out on the whole experience; it comes short of absorbing the atmosphere of this album.
To be listened to loudly on your audio system, preferably at evening as you watch the sunset and no one else to interrupt you.

Prog Archive band page

Review on Progressor
DPRP review
Buy on Amazon

1 comment:

  1. One of the most overlooked gems of the 90's. I love this disc and plat it regularly.


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