Thork — We-ila
((Not on label) no#, 2004, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2006-05-01
The French seem to have a lock on dark symphonic prog these days (see Nil elsewhere this issue) – or maybe it’s just those two guys named Maurin (David on guitar and Samuel on bass and Stick), who feature in both bands. In any case, Thork is another modern take on what progressive might mean. Thork features a male vocalist, Sébastien Penel, and violinist, Claire Northey, for their distinct flavor. Penel is dramatic in the grand French tradition, though not as emphatic as Christian Décamps in Ange, and can be found whispering, singing, or screaming as the words demand, as well as being treated with effects devices. There are also moments of massed backing vocals (some courtesy of Nil’s Roselyne Berthet) that build to huge climaxes slightly reminiscent of Magma, though I wouldn’t stretch the comparison too far. Sébastien Fillion’s keyboards fill out the sound with a mixture of instruments including Rhodes and Clavinet as well as atmospheric string tones. A variety of guest musicians provide timbres from around the world for a bit of spice. In addition to passages of rock power, there are touches of strangeness, odd effects, noises, and atonality. The band mostly favors longer forms of multiple sections – in fact the seven tracks comprise two one-minute interludes and five pieces over the nine-minute mark, including a twenty-minute epic called “Ea” in the middle. All tracks are credited to the whole band except the two short guitar pieces. It’s an intoxicating mix of the strange and the familiar.
Related artist(s): Thork
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.