Exposé Online banner

Johnny Unicorn — Sadness and Companionship
((Not on label) no#, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-07-07

Sadness and Companionship Cover artThe Seattle based composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist has done it again, this time combining his penchant for silly art-pop and progressive rock into an what he claims to be “…the world’s first progressive rock exercize album.” I didn’t even bother to check out this claim; although I know several albums that feature individual songs that could fit that description, I’m unaware of any full albums that were created to be such. Two fourteen-minute cuts are crafted to be background music for aerobic workouts, or so it is said. I’ll give it to Unicorn on the first one “Sadness,” which with its steady bouncy beat certainly qualifies, and its arty and angular melodies, constant changes, and arrangements give it progressive rock cred as well. The second cut “Companionship” is another matter, at least on the aerobic scale; for many parts of it there is a steady beat, but there are too many changes in the meter and dynamics, and more parts where it just moves to quiet piano or guitar based instrumentation (although the steady beat may pick up after a bit). That said, it is the more interesting of the two longer pieces. Unicorn plays all the instruments himself, and sings all the lyrics with some help from Naomi Adele Smith (who plays keyboards in the live trio version of the band). It doesn’t surprise me that Unicorn also plays with Phideaux when he’s in Los Angeles, as there are many similarities in approach, no doubt some cross-influence. The disc ends with two shorter cuts, “Sadness – Companionship Remix,” and “Companionship – Sadness Remix.” These, despite their shorter length, are certainly more interesting, as they don’t even try to maintain the steady beat. In all, Unicorn’s high standard for quirky art-prog is maintained throughout, amid this interesting overall concept.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Johnny Unicorn

More info
http://www.johnnyunicorn.com

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Black Angels - Directions to See a Ghost – It is always exciting to discover new bands that take interesting elements from the past, combine them with fresh new ideas, and create something entirely new. Cases in point are the neo-psych bands...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues