Exposé Online banner

Advent — Cantus Firmus
((Not on label) no#, 2006, CD)

by Sean McFee, Published 2007-03-01

Cantus Firmus Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Advent

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Liberation. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Yatha Sidhra - A Meditation Mass – Considered by most a classic, this album was very recently put out by The Laser's Edge. One of the most unique and interesting Krautrock releases of the seventies, "A Meditation Mass" is a four part...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues