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TRACK LIST: 1. R. Daniel Olivaw 3:07 2. One Trick Pony 1:52 3. Kazak: the Hound of Space 2:14 4. Tiny Machines 4:24 5. Northern Pike 6:37 6. Gulf of Tonkin 1:06 7. Pants Down 1:15 8. Pants Down-II 2:23 9. Big Cats 3:43 10. Threnody for the Victims of Brother Theodore 4:03 11. Fanfare for a Losing Team 2:20 12. The Boston Crab 2:22 13. Winston Niles Rumfoord 1:14 14. Elba 4:39 The Sirens of Titan 7:17: 15. I 16. II 17. III 18. IV 19. Royal Jelly 5:27 Music: by Lord, Lord / Walton, & Dreadnaught. Some additional musical material: R Habib. LINE-UP: Bob Lord - bass & guitar; keyboards; programming Justin Walton - guitar; keyboards & piano; sax Tim Haney - drums With: Andy Happel - violin (on 1 & 15/18) Ed Jurdi - harmonica (5) Duncan Watt - keyboards (15/18) Produced & engineered by Lord. Artwork: Lord.
Prolusion. The US progressive outfit DREADNAUGHT was formed in 1996, and "Musica en Flagrante" is the fourth studio album by them. The discographies of the band and related projects can be found in the review of their previous album, >"The American Standard". For more info, please check a link to the official Dreadnaught website below.
Synopsis. While the band's principal lineup still represents a trio, there is the newcomer Tim Haney behind the drum kit now, and not Richard Habib, who was a permanent member of Dreadnaught until now, and was not only the drummer, but also the singer. The number of guest musicians here is smaller than that on "The American Standard", and the contributions they've made to this recording are minor rather than massive. Furthermore, four compositions feature only Bob Lord handling all instruments. Finally, the title of the 54-minute "Musica en Flagrante" ("Flagrant Music", of course) and the number of tracks here (nineteen), all of which, in addition, are instrumental pieces, made me completely uncertain about the outcome of my meeting with the new Dreadnaught album. Don't worry, though! These were my thoughts on the outing before I listened to it, and this story has a happy ending actually. While not as dynamic and energetic as "The American Standard", "Musica en Flagrante" is also filled with highly intriguing musical events and shines with originality and fresh, brave and unexpected, ideas, too. Although the parts of real violin are available only on R. Daniel Olivaw (1) and The Sirens of Titan (15 to 18), and those of real saxophone on One Trick Pony and Threnody for the Victims of Brother Theodore (2 & 10), the band actively uses the samples of brass and string instruments. The music is for the most part so innovative that I don't see any terms that would be more suitable to define it than still the same >Fifth Element. It's quite another matter, however, what constitutes the genre(s) that are present on this material. One Trick Pony, Kazak: the Hound of Space, Pants Down-II, Threnody for the Victims of Brother Theodore, Elba (2, 3, 8, 10, & 14), and The Sirens of Titan (15 to 18) present Fifth Element based on symphonic and jazzy textures with and without (only on 8, 10, & 14) avant-garde, RIO-like strivings, though the bloodthirsty:-) Brother Theodore is, in addition, the adherent of Blues. Classical Academic music lies in the basis of Big Cats and Fanfare for a Losing Team (9 & 11), while Fifth Element, presented on Tiny Machines, Fanfare for a Losing Team, and Royal Jelly (4, 12, & 19), is of a completely another story and is linked with Art-Rock and Prog-Metal. Only these three may arouse more or less clear associations with "The American Standard". R. Daniel Olivaw, Northern Pike, Pants Down-I, and Winston Niles Rumford (1, 5, 7, & 13) are about a unique blend of minimalist music and electronically symphonic Art-Rock with some elements of Fifth Element rather than vice versa or anything else. Finally, the shortest track on the album: Gulf of Tonkin (6) is nothing else but Rock & Roll, which, though, is probably the most original and unusual Rock & Roll I've ever heard.
Conclusion. Being a chameleon band from its birth, Dreadnaught still continues changing the compositional and stylistic aspects of their music; and they do it both skillfully and successfully. As a result, "Musica en Flagrante" turned out to be as musically different from "The American Standard" as any of the band's albums are different among themselves in general. Although I wouldn't take a bet that this album is better than its predecessor, I'm taking off my hat to Bob and his colleges for their ability to avoid stagnation in any of its possible manifestations. Heartily recommended and without any reservations. It's a kind of eternal music, which will bring you joy each time you return to it and regardless of how frequently you do it.
VM: June 5, 2004
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