Major Parkinson — Blackbox
(Karisma KAR136, 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-30
If you’re fond of figuring out which musical boxes artists should go into, this Norwegian band will drive you nuts. They’re progressive rock, of course. Until they aren’t. Then they’re a cabaret from outer space, or a dance band from a 21st Century ocean liner, or something else equally non-boxworthy. Up front we have the unusual singing of Jon Ivar Kollbotn, with a gruff, somewhat sinister-sounding voice that sometimes descends into spoken words. It’s an example of low-gravelly tones that don’t sound like death-metal harsh vocals, but don’t sound like most male singers either. There are female vocals as well, with guest Linn Frøkedal’s pure, sweet tones providing a dramatic contrast to Kollbotn’s rumbling. Several other women contribute vocals, including the ten-member Volve Vokal ensemble. The instrumental side of Major Parkinson consists of seven members contributing keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, and violin; they are joined by a large cast of guests on strings, woodwinds, brass, and more. There are so many elements melded into the music that it’s hard (and probably pointless) to sort them out. In the more upbeat moments, they’re a little reminiscent of Cardiacs, and at other times it might be Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Tom Waits, Nine Inch Nails, or something off a big-sound movie soundtrack. In the wrong hands, it would sound overblown and indulgent, but Major Parkinson pulls it off. Blackbox is a great album that seems to exist in a world all its own.
Related artist(s): Major Parkinson
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
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
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