Paynbird — Eschatosophia
(Illusion PBIR3, 2013, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-05-23Eschatosophia is Paynbird’s second offering following 2005’s The Street of Seven Stars. The trio from Bergen, Norway, has created an ambitious album that encompasses an eclectic — if somewhat schizophrenic — range of styles and sounds. On the one hand are songs like “Shiny Colors and Beauty Queens” that sound like lost outtakes from a 1966 Byrds session, while on the other extreme is the “Perago-Metus-Atonement-Pavor Nocturnus” suite that juxtaposes grunge with Gothic soundscapes and choral meditations. I guess the easiest label to use would be acid-folk, but there’s a lot more going on in these 18 tracks that also includes smoky, coffeehouse confessionals (“Pearls of Water”) and redemptive folk rock (“Oblivion of Time”). The trio of Erik Olaus, Markus Scholz, and Kjersti Olsen champion a stripped down sound dominated by vocals and guitar, pushed along by a small kit backbeat, though they’re not adverse to layering on piano, percussion, or processed strings when it can help give the tracks a sonic boost. Guest violin from Eli Hydle is judiciously added for extra sweetening, but for the most part this is an outfit confident in their abilities as songwriters and performers. As a concept album the subtext is somewhat murky, though the dreamy and introspective vibe underlying many of the songs hints at larger themes at play. As a marriage of style and substance this collection works on both fronts, even if the references are somewhat obvious. It also works as an artistic statement, even if several listens are needed to dig it.
Related artist(s): Paynbird
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more