Exposé Online banner

Ten Jinn — Sisyphus
(Attitude Recordings ATT20160, 2017, LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-07-23

Sisyphus Cover art

Back in 1999 Ten Jinn was unstoppable. Their second CD, As on a Darkling Plain, was captivating listeners on both sides of the pond, released on both Musea and InsideOut, and they were appearing at all the key prog festivals (at least all the festivals this writer was attending), I must have seen them five or six times between 1999 and 2000 without even trying — the band seemed to be omnipresent. Surprisingly, when the band’s follow-up, Alone, came out a few years later on a Swedish label with many new musicians, following bandleader and keyboardist John Strauss’ move to that country, there wasn’t much fanfare, publicity, or even respectable distribution. It was like Ten Jinn’s Last Exit, and after that, little was heard from them for over a dozen years. But lo and behold, all these years later, Strauss is back in the States with most of the original band members from the second album (drummer Mark Wickliffe, guitarist Mike Matier) as well as guitarist Ken Skoglund from the Swedish Ten Jinn, all sharing backing vocals, with a guest bassist and two female backing singers plus strings, and their newest release, Sisyphus, is a masterful and stunning achievement. The title track is a 26 minute eight-part song cycle that tells the story of the mythological Sisyphus, condemned by the gods to spend eternity rolling a boulder to the top of a mountain only to have it roll back down each time. The piece is piano based, with added parts for multiple guitars, bass, drums, and lush orchestrations that is presented in two versions: The first is essentially instrumental, with some backing vocals included, and the second is the same, with lyrics and vocals added that encircle the story. The latter version is excellent, and following the lyric sheet is probably the only way a listener will know exactly where the eight parts begin and end, but the instrumental version is a stone masterpiece, the arrangements and orchestrations highlighting every measure. This is available as an import LP only, with no plans to release it on CD, a retro trend that seems to favor this antiquated format in spite of the near perfect sound of the compact disc format.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Ten Jinn

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jon Anderson - The More You Know – I knew there was something fishy about this CD when I looked at the song lengths - all are nearly identical. Pre-planned? Hmmmm, could be. After six solo releases since 1994, a vacation in Bermuda...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues