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Gargantua (Poland) - 2004 - "Gargantua"
(42 min, Ars Mundi)


1.  Obilas mi sie 4:31
2.  Slowolnosc 6:43
3.  Szla-dzie 9:13
4.  Fumator kulbaczny 4:36
5.  Wrzesien przysnien 6:41
6.  Tarczowali dzisiaj las 4:00
7.  Azur 7:05

All music: by Gargantua.


Bartek Zeman - guitar; vocals
Justyn Hunia - keyboards; vocals
Marcin Borowski - drums & percussion
Leszek Mrozowski - bass 

Produced by Gargantua.
Engineered by S. Biela.

Prolusion. Of course, the eponymous album by the Polish band GARGANTUA is their debut. They hail from Krakow, the hometown of one of my most favorite writers, Stanislaw Lem.

Synopsis. There are many bands and performers on today's scene that, while being inspired by the seventies' classic Progressive, are capable enough to compose music, which would be free of any influences. And yet, most of them, for some reason, find it necessary to show us that they are able to play not unlike their idols, too. For instance, this remark is topical with regard to the latest albums by Solar Project and Lizard, reviewed by me two weeks ago, and the hero of this material, too, as of course, I started this conversation not without purpose. Most of the basic themes and all the guitar parts on the album's opener, Obilas mi sie, reflect Gargantua's great indebtedness to King Crimson, to put it mildly. Overall, however, this album is much better than those by the two aforementioned groups, as these guys, in addition to their true compositional and performance talent, did manage to catch magic's wings while working on the material. The second track contains only light traces of King Crimson's influences, while on the further ones the band has bravely entered the realm lying far beyond something clearly recognizable. The music is a feast of unique, complex, eclectic arrangements with the slight predominance of guitar-based textures over symphonic ones and is an excellently thought-out combination of Art-Rock and Jazz-Fusion with some Cathedral Metal and Avant-garde tendencies. Well, due to the presence of the latter, a few tracks have some stylistic similarity to those on "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", but no one will dare to draw direct comparisons between them. The only instrumental piece is located right in the middle of the album (4), though most of the songs are more than largely instrumental, if it is possible to say so. Only the next to last track is mostly vocal-based, and yet, it is musically as original, diverse and excellent as everything here, save the album's opener, of course. This is also the only composition on the album that features solos sounding not unlike those of Turkish Saz and elements of Oriental music in general. Marcin Borowski is a very gifted percussionist. His solos on varied metal percussion and vibraphone and those on drums are equally inventive and masterful. However, all the band members, without exception, sound like experienced musicians on their debut.

Conclusion. Gargantua is one of the most original young bands to come out from Europe in the last two years, and I believe their further recordings won't feature anything that would sound like a tribute to those whose music has inculcated in them a taste for music in general. I strongly urge you to check out their CD. (>Top-20)

VM: July 19, 2004

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