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(40:13; Apollon Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Jeremiah 1:14 3:02 2. Firehorn 7:00 3. Lisbet 5:17 4. Domen 7:47 5. March in 5/4 5:56 6. Requiem 11:11 LINEUP: Anders Buaas – guitars, keyboards, mandolin, banjo, effects Rune Erling Pedersen – drums Are Gogstad – bass Henrik Madsen – percussion with: Gudny Aspaas – vocals Filip Hauan Gundersen – tuba, bass trombone
Prolusion. Norwegian composer and musician Anders BUAAS has a long history as a band member of various acts in Norway, and has also been a touring guitarist for artists such as Tim Owens and Paul Dianno. In 2017 he decided to venture out as a solo artist as well, releasing the first album of his trilogy "The Witches of Finnmark". The concluding chapter of this trilogy appeared towards the tail end of 2019 through Norwegian label Apollon Records.
Analysis. The two main defining characteristics about this album is that it is an instrumental production and that it is built upon a folk music foundation. The compositions are expressive enough in shape, form and execution to safely warrant a progressive rock description too, and resides in the more inviting and broadly appealing varieties of the form at that. The acoustic guitar is a key instrument throughout this album, and emphasize the folk music foundation this album is built upon - with tone, note progressions and delivery all setting the core folk music associations as such. Scandinavian and Norwegian folk music obviously a notable source of inspiration here, at times strikingly so, but with space and room for a touch of world music when appropriate too, as is the case with the striking album conclusion 'Requiem'. Upon this folk music base, Buaas tends to build with something of a Gilmourian spirit, with atmospheric laden, inviting and subtly melancholic instrument textures applied alongside electric guitar solo passages referencing back to the already name-dropped Pink Floyd guitarist. In addition Buaas will segue over to jazzier interludes here and there, with bass, guitar and percussion instruments adding that undertone and overlay that reference jazz. And then there's the concluding 'Requiem', which takes a neat step sideways and replace the atmospheric laden Gilmourian passages with monumental guitar riffs, given support by a heavy set rhythm section. In the opening half of this epic alternating these with more delicate folk-based passages, and then in the second half building with a constant presence of guitar riffs, exotic timbered keyboard overlays and emotional, wordless vocal textures to boot. A suitably haunting requiem if you like. For my sake I'll have to admit that while this concluding track is right up my alley, in a 'Perfect Strangers' era Deep Purple kind of way, my first choice from this production is the more light toned, elegant and spirited song 'Firehorn'. Filled with joy, momentum and positive energy, I can easily see why that song was chosen as the lead single for this album.
Conclusion. Those who are fond of atmospheric laden progressive rock with something of a folk music foundation will find a lot to enjoy about Anders Buaas' latest production. Well made and well produced, without any technical weak spots and with good to strong quality compositions to boot. That so many of the guitar solo runs had that Gilmourian spirit to them makes me suspect that fans of fellow Norwegian artist Bjorn Riis might also find this album to be well worth a check.
Progmessor: April 2020
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