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

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Luminos - Seize the Day – Seize the Day is the debut from this quartet from northeastern England. Musically, they fall roughly into the same realm of symphonic- and neo-prog-lite as Guy Manning or Mostly Autumn (sans Celtic...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues