Advent — Cantus Firmus
((Not on label) no#, 2006, CD)
by Sean McFee, Published 2007-03-01
I have not heard a new release this year that evoked so many conflicting emotions. The first Advent release in a decade, Cantus Firmus is also their first output I have heard. A quartet of guitar / bass / Stick / recorder, dual keyboardists, and a drummer, with two vocalists but some multi-tracking if I gather correctly, the Advent sound is high in virtuosity and tight group interplay. Two of bandmember Alan Benjamin’s musical heroes, Gentle Giant and Kenso, could almost be said to be fused together in this recording; it’s all the contrapuntal richness of GG with a more symph-prog bent. The 18-minute “Ramblin’ Sailor” may be the best composition of the year by anyone. So, in fact, this should be one of my favorite releases of the decade. And yet, and yet... it’s always going to be a judgement call where something is paying tribute and where something crosses the line into clone territory. Vocal fugues and echoing musical passages on multiple instruments: tribute. Intentionally sounding like Minnear (including the accent): crossing the line. That suspicion of contrivance is what pulls it down from classic status. Still, it’s not a sound many groups could pull off, and these guys nail it. The drums do seem a bit flat and in the background at times; whether conscious choice or not, it puts a limit on the intensity. If you love Gentle Giant as this writer does, you owe it to yourself to hear this. The wry smiles will be mixed with moments of joy.
Related artist(s): Advent
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more