Exposé Online banner

Paynbird — Eschatosophia
(Illusion PBIR3, 2013, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-05-23

Eschatosophia Cover artEschatosophia 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.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Paynbird

Latest news

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
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


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Thorne - Part Two: Emotional Creatures – Two years after his debut CD Emotional Creatures – Part One, Steve Thorne has released his second CD Emotional Creatures – Part Two. In some sense it is a continuation of his first CD as many of...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues