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Daedalus Spirit Orchestra

Ampulla Magnifying

Review by Gary Hill

This French outfit has an intriguing sound. They blend the more off-the-wall musical motifs of groups like Univers Zero and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic with more accessible progressive rock like Yes and King Crimson. The result takes a little getting used to, but it’s well worth the effort. These guys will remind you of different bands at different times, but never sound like anyone else.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Visper Aiyo

There’s a balladic approach as this starts. The vocals bring in drama and power and the track builds in a dramatic way. It moves slowly and rises gradually. Then it abruptly shifts to cacophonous RIO. That really wakes you up from the melodic restfulness of the early segment. They take it on from there becoming less jarring, but far from restive. The music in this next section makes me think of King Crimson melded with Pentwater. It’s hard rocking and just a little dangerous. They steer down different roads here and there in a rather chaotic jam. As the more symphonic instrumentation takes over on the top this gets really crazed. They take us into pure jazz for a while and then drop way down for some more ambient sounds. It powers back out into the earlier sounds as it pounds towards the conclusion. This is one heck of a dynamic and powerful introduction. The back and forth echoed closing section makes me think of Flash.

Shambles Start An End
They come in powered up here with a real progressive rock motif at the onset. It drops back a bit for the vocals. They pull it way down after that. Then it comes back up. They take us through some variations and alterations and this is quite a cool piece of music. This stays more in the melodic zone, though, never really moving into the jarring, dissonant kind of music we heard in the opener. For that reason I prefer this cut over that previous one. We do get some jazz moments in this piece, though. The closing section is very much ambient weirdness.
Azucerado
There’s a mellow, balladic texture as this opens up. It really feels like sedate jazz as it continues. The vocals add to that opinion. Keyboards further down the road bring a hint of danger and oddness. They don’t remain long, though. Those keys do come back and bring more range to the piece later. This is an intriguing piece of music. It powers out to a more rock oriented jam late.
Sloganeering
A pretty balladic approach starts this and the cut builds up gradually from there. Some jazz elements play over the top as it continues. Eventually there is a move towards more rock like sounds, but the moody, slowly building concept remains. Around the two and a half minute mark (this is over ten minutes long), they fire out into harder rocking, faster territory and continue from there. The eventually peak and then drop it back down and begin to build back upward. It resembles Yes a bit at times in this rebuilding process.
Unrelentingly
Sound effects bring this in and there’s a weird guitar sound sort of bouncing around here and there bringing in an early Pink Floyd sound. It pounds out after a time in a motif that makes me think both of Yes and King Crimson. They take it through both harder rocking and mellower movements and then drop it down to a false ending. After a little while some bass joins more ambient elements and begins to drive the piece forward and upward. They take us out from there on an off-kilter sort of jam and then move to more hard rocking modern progressive rock. As they continue to reinvent the piece they take us into some rather fusion-like territory. Eventually we are taken back out into the area where the bulk of the track likes.
Crosstalk
This comes in very much feeling like an extension of the previous piece. As this continues we are led through a series of changes and alterations. This is another killer progressive rock track that has some bits of chamber music and jazz in it. I hear some King Crimson, but also Yes and even The Flower Kings here. There’s an extremely dramatic movement at the end.
The Clockwork's Marching Along
Starting pretty and rather balladic, this cut builds organically for a while. At around the minute mark it peaks and then powers out into a more pounding rock movement. We get some killer sounds and textures and they reinvent and rethink this piece. It becomes quite a dynamic number and there’s a killer almost psychedelic jam later. When it powers up later there are some flute elements adding some interesting textures to the mix.
Parallel Convergent
This moody balladic number rises up from the ending of the last one. It’s pretty and builds very slowly. This ends with a weird little fake skipping record effect.
Askance Relief
There’s a jazz meets progressive rock feeling to this killer tune. It gets a little weird at times, but is quite a pleasing prog rock journey. There are even some horns in the mix on this later. They turn in a weird little shift later. We are given a fiery, almost funky jam later. That climaxes and then it seems the disc is over, but weird sounds gradually rise up. Then the bass climbs out of the hole and starts to take things back upwards. This gets a cool jazz groove to it as it is built upon. Eventually it fires out into a more energized version of the main musical themes we heard before. This ends the disc in style.
 
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