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(71:00, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Cruz Quebrada 2:28 2. Fish Dissected 5:45 3. Where It Hurts Most 3:38 4. Shipwreck 8:26 5. Whalebone 8:07 6. Over the Cliff 1:36 7. Thyme 15:24 8. Mummy 1:04 9. The Single-Most Expensive Kiss In History 3:59 10. Headlong 2:09 11. I Abraham. Bonne Voyage 4:33 12. Ghost 1:49 13. Severance & Down Falls 4:54 14. Indian White 5:02 15. Onward 2:05 LINEUP: Fred Lessing vocals; bass, guitars; harp; flutes; keyboards, percussion Andre Marques drums; keyboards; bass, guitars; recordings; vocals Bruno Evangelista vocals Adriano Pereira clarinet With: Paulo Chagas wind instruments Luca Calabrese trumpets Nuno Flores viola, violin Thomas Olsson guitars Rita Simoes vocals
Prolusion. The Portuguese project DAYMOON is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Fred Lessing. He has been creating material for well over a quarter of a century, but didn't choose to start releasing any of it until 2011. "Cruz Quebrada" is the third studio album to be issued under the Daymoon moniker, and was released through the German label Progressive Promotion Records in the spring of 2016.
Analysis. The Daymoon project is one I have managed to follow fairly closely, as I have been fortunate enough to receive all the official albums they have released to date for review. So far they have created interesting, but perhaps not all that universally appealing music, as I have experienced them, but this time around I feel the end result has risen a bit in general stature. The core foundation of the sound explored by this project is one I tend to describe as Pink Floydian. Plucked electric and acoustic guitars combining with elegant, but often dark, keyboard motifs, dark toned guitar riffs used to add depth and darkness to the proceedings, and a generally pleasant yet subtly ominous atmosphere are something of key features throughout. Those fond of mid- to late 70's Pink Floyd should feel familiar in landscapes of this nature. Daymoon doesn't stay put there though, and in this case we're also dealing with an album with a marked turning point in terms of style, mood and atmosphere. The opening seven cuts are all mainly in a Floydian vein, with an occasional visit to landscapes closer to early 80s neo-progressive rock along the way, but lightly flavored with chaotic jazz details, fragile orchestral details and elements with more of a folk music origin and possibly orientation as well. At times markedly chaotic, on other occasions more fluent and easier on the ears and the mind both. These compositions are all fairly dark in mood and spirit, but while they also may come across as slightly lacking in the mix and production department, they also appear as authentic, in an emotionally harrowing manner. This adds a strong nerve to this part of the album that does elevate the end result, and even the concluding composition for this part, the dampened, mellow epic-length creation Thyme, has a vibrancy and raw emotional nerve to it that easily maintains attention, at least for those with a certain taste for music dealing with moods of a more haunting emotional nature. The concluding 8-part suite The River steps a bit away from this territory. There are both Floydian moments and a brief venture into more of a neo-progressive sounding landscape here as well, but this suite has a stronger orientation towards pastoral sequences, Latin-inspired moods and a stronger general feel of folk music and world music as key features. Not as alluring as the songs that came before it, but still well made material that, again, has a keen feeling of being authentic in a manner not too many other artists have managed to achieve lately. At least that I have managed to come across. Mix and production does come across as a bit too basic at times though, so those with a strong taste for perfectly produced albums might want to shy away from this one. Another weak element is the vocals of main man Lessing. He does manage to use his voice to its strengths, but he is far from being a top-notch vocalist. The vocals fit the music rather well throughout, and Lessing comes across as very able in knowing his limitations as a singer and appears to know how to work around that weakness rather well too. Still, those who have a need for the vocalist to be a highly talented singer might want to approach this one with a slight caution due to that aspect of this recording.
Conclusion. Daymoon's third studio album "Cruz Quebrada" comes across as an emotionally laden production, at times harrowingly so, to the extent that the raw undercurrents of emotion manages to overcome slightly weaker aspects in terms of structure and cohesion, mix and production as well as the lead vocals. Those who tend to enjoy bands that explore similar territories to what Pink Floyd did in the mid to late 70's appear as a key audience for this album, and then especially those who enjoy folk music details, a select few pastoral sequences and occasional chaotic, dramatic instrument effects, used to expand these boundaries.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 5, 2016
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