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

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

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 & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Theo Travis & Mark Hewins - Guerrilla Music – Well-traveled woodwinds man Theo Travis and vanguard guitarist Mark Hewins join forces on a departure outside the main scope of the efforts on Guerrilla Music. The nine pieces contained herein belie a...  (2003) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues