Mater Thallium — Abandoned by the Sun
(Autumnsongs Records AR014CD, 2014, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-10-02Abandoned by the Sun, subtitled the album to end the summer, is the new album by Scandinavian band Mater Thallium. This is a concept album about the dubious disappearance of a 15-year old girl causing a downward spiral and ripple effect that threatens to ruin the lives of everyone close to her. This progressive and adventurous album alternates between brutal doom and sublime passages. The disc opens with “Sudden Dereliction” to the sound of sea gulls, rusted hinges, and pastoral flute, to be replaced with heavy metal doom guitar. I find the second track “Suicidium” to be one of the best on the album. It is a pseudo-requiem with a male and female chorus and organ. “Exiled Witness” begins with the sound of an opening door and footsteps leading to Mellotron strings and guitars. This song alternates between dark sinister moments and quiet passages, much like a King Crimson arrangement. Another strong song is “Maternal Mortality.” This song is beautiful in its dreaminess and brutality. There are many other sinister elements throughout adding to the despair of losing a child without getting any answers. The album closes with the nine-minute “Finite” that gives some glimpse into what really happened that fateful day, but leaving it sufficiently open to interpretation. In 2013 Erik Andås (bass and backing vocals) and Geir Venom Larzen (guitar, drums, and vocals), two members of the Procosmian Fannyfiddlers, got together with Håkon Markussen (keyboards and backing vocals), Petter Falk (lead vocals), and Mette Jensen (vocals and flute) to form Mater Thallium. After their debut release last year, they immediately began work on Abandoned by the Sun. Given this prolific output, I expect to be hearing more of their old-school heavy prog rock in the near future.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
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
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
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