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Sirkis/Bialas IQ

Our New Earth

Review by Gary Hill

The music presented here is really hard to pin down in terms of musical genre. There is certainly a lot of jazz in the mix. I suppose "art music" would be pretty accurate, and since that's essentially "art rock," it's the main reason I'm landing this under prog. That said, it has a lot in common with Rock in Opposition. Whatever you call this, it's unique and creative. The vocals are not in English. Some have lyrics, but I'm not sure what language they are in. It seems that others are non-lyrical. Honestly, it doesn't matter because they act almost more as another instrument to my mind. As unusual as this is, it's also deeply compelling stuff.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
              
If Pegasus Had One Wing (He Would Fly In Spirals)

Trippy musical textures start the album rather texturally. There is a bit of an electronic element that threatens to really create some power. A more organic arrangement that makes me think of Renaissance comes in instead. The cut powers out into some fast paced and powerful prog that definitely earns more of that comparison. There is a real neo-classical break later in the number. The number works into more jazz stylings from there. It really has some cool fusion as the scat singing takes over as it approaches the end. The actual closing bit is a synthesizer segment.

Land Of Oblivion
The acoustic guitar textures that open this have a real dissonance that calls to mind early King Crimson. Although that holds the piece for quite a while, it eventually drifts into more pure jazz territory as the arrangement gets into more jazz trio zones. The vocals come in over the top of this motif as the song continues its exploration. There is a bit of spacey ambience at the end of the number.
Letter To A.
Jazzy weirdness starts this in an almost Rock in Opposition way. The cut gets into more exploratory fusion zones as the vocals soar over the top of the arrangement. I really love the classy jam around the four-minute mark. It has some cool fusion and pure jazz elements at play along with some hints of more progressive rock based stuff. As the vocals rejoin, this gets incredibly powerful and again resembles Renaissance in some ways.
Reminiscence
Drums start this and hold it for about the first minute or so. Piano is added to the mix as the piece takes on classical modes. The vocals bring the jazz to the menu. This gets into some seriously powerful jazz influenced prog zones as it continues to build and evolve.
Chiaroscuro
Piano brings this into being. Female vocals come in over the top of that backdrop, bringing a jazz meets classical vibe with them. The cut grows outward by intensifying those elements. It really gets a lot of emotion in the mix as it does so. There is some particularly classy piano work on this number.
Disc 2
   
Rooting

The vocals really soar and explore sonic zones with minimal backing as this number starts. After a time it shifts to a dramatic and powerful instrumental arrangement for a bit before the vocals return. This is decidedly artistic and proggy with plenty of jazz still in the mix. Another instrumental movement takes over after a bit, moving it into some seriously RIO-aligned zones.   

Our New Earth
At almost 11-and-a-half minutes of music, the title track is the longest piece of the album. It starts with a percussive male vocal dominated world music section. While strange, that movement is somehow compelling, too. The female vocals join in the same fashion after a time as backing. After a time other elements are added to power it upward, but the general theme holds for the first three or so minutes of the piece. Then it drops way down to mellow modes to continue. Proggy, classically influence instrumental elements rise up to take it forward. As the female vocals rejoin later we're taken back into Renaissance leaning modes. The cut gets more exploratory in a Rock In Opposition or fusion-based section later. There is some pretty awesome guitar work as that keeps building and evolving. The world music vocals, this time of the female variety, threaten to take control as the song drops into some serious weirdness in a mellower, spacey arrangement. There is an almost science fiction or horror movie aspect to it as it gets into the movement. Then, around the eight-and-a-half-minute mark, it drops to a weird keyboard section. The piece is gradually reborn from there into a more melodic, although still strange, arrangement. It's slow moving as it drifts forward. The science fiction elements make one return before it all ends.
Message From The Blue Bird
This is more of a mainstream classical meets jazz prog number. It has some intriguing textures and element along with some killer piano work. I really enjoy the piano solo that takes control for a while a lot. There is quite a bit of musical exploration from beyond that point as this shifts and turns along the road.
Spooky Action At The Distance
The opening section on this is quite spooky, with a distant, trippy kind of sound. It has a bit of an electronic vibe and feels like something that would be at home in a horror or science fiction movie soundtrack. Weirdness holds the track for about half of its length. From there we get into more soaring jazzy prog zones. It works through a number of shifts and variants in that general area before it's over.
Nocturnity
Starting with piano, this works out into a pretty and rather dramatic arrangement as it continues. There is a couple intriguing jazzy instrumental explorations later in the cut.  This definitely has a lot of fusion and Rock in Opposition in the mix.     
Picture From A Polish Wood
An up-tempo prog meets jazz jam is at the heart of this rather soaring and exploratory piece of music. The second movement of the piece really soars as it makes its way through instrumental jamming. We're brought into a powerhouse reworking of the first section after that. Once that winds out, they treat us to a barely accompanied drum solo. The weird male world music vocals from the title track return late in this number for a short time. An odd whistling section ends the piece. This is one of the most dynamic cuts of the set.
 
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