Exposé Online banner

Kaukasus — I
(Burning Shed Autumnsongs AR011CD, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-08-13

I Cover artKaukasus is a collaboration between three prominent figures in Scandinavian progressive rock: Ketil Vestrum Einarsen (Jaga Jazzist, Motorpsycho), Rhys Marsh (The Autumn Ghost, Opium Cartel), and Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, White Willow). Given that pedigree, you would be right to expect something special, and their debut album does not disappoint — unless your tastes are very picky or narrow. The modern prog sound you might expect (big guitars, atmospheric production touches, combination of vintage and modern keyboards) are there, but there's a lot more going on. It's with track 3 that things start going sideways. "In the Stillness of Time" starts out with a minimal electronic rhythm part accompanying sparse piano chords and Marsh's powerful singing, then builds into a great rock tune, dripping with Mellotron and fat synth sounds. After about four minutes, it drifts off into quiet ambiance, with distant twittering sounds and indistinct chords. This moves without break into "Starlit Motion," which brings up the synth part (possibly sequences on a VCS3) and introduces Einarsen's flute. We're moving off into some lovely space territory here, the power of the rock band left as a distant memory. "Reptilian" appropriately starts with a quiet section before building back to the rock intensity. It's like the best of Motorpsycho's psych-prog crossed with Änglagård's powerful symphonic prog. It's also a prime example of why the Mellotron has endured in spite of its flaky sound — there's just something about the way that messy string sound fills out an arrangement that can't be explained by nostalgia. You might not expect this trio's combination of symphonic prog and space rock to work, but they pull it off in a big way. This is a supergroup that is more than the sum of its parts, and one of the top progressive rock releases of 2014.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Kaukasus, Rhys Marsh

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Make a Rising - Rip through the Hawk Black Night – Make a Rising is an adventurous Philadelphia quintet cut from the mode of modern alternative experimental bands such as Tortoise and Olivia Trevor Control. Blending jazz and alternative rock elements...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues