Exposé Online banner

Swifan Eolh & The Mudra Choir — The Key
(Apollon Records ARP019, 2018, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-03-06

The Key Cover art

This Norwegian band with a strange name has a very interesting take on progressive rock. When “Wounded Dreamers” starts there are distinct hints of mid-70s Yes, especially in the guitar parts, and when the vocal parts come in, the way they’re arranged is reminiscent of Jon Anderson and Chris Squire’s interplay (though neither singer here sounds like any member of Yes). There are a number of little references here and there through the track that hint pretty strongly at several famous Yes songs. By the time the song is over, you’re probably thinking this is a Yes-inspired prog band — fairly original, but clearly favoring that stream of prog rock. The next track starts, and it’s a lovely bit of classical guitar with only a brief vocal part — still well within the realm of Yes music. From there on out, however, things start getting more complicated. There’s a touch of Gong, even featuring the late Gilli Smyth reciting a poem to which they add electronic accompaniment. I’m sometimes reminded of their fellow Norwegians Magic Pie. Rune Seip Bjørnflaten sometimes sings in a voice that’s clearly portraying a character, a little like Peter Gabriel did in Genesis. Second singer Synøve Jacobsen provides a contrast with her smoother tones. The male / female vocal interplay at times brings up thoughts of Jefferson Airplane and It’s a Beautiful Day. Bjørnflaten handles the guitar, and his playing is solid whether he’s channelling Steve Howe or going for a different sound. There are lots of classic keyboard sounds throughout the album, provided by bassist Tom Inge Andersen as well as guests Ståle Langhelle (of Jordsjø) and Endre Christiansen (of Shine Dion). In short, The Key provides plenty of surprises and pleasure for lovers of classic progressive rock.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Swifan Eolh & The Mudra Choir

More info
http://swifan.bandcamp.com/album/the-key

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
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

2020-01-21
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


Previously in Exposé...

Nels Cline / Andrea Parkins / Tom Rainey - Downpour – There was no lack of insight at the 2006 Victoriaville festival where Wilco guitarist Nels Cline met with co-improvisers Andrea Parkins and drummer Tom Rainey for an explosive, heated exchange. The...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues