ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]


In the Labyrinth - 2011 - "One Trail to Heaven"

(59:38, Trail Records)


*****
                 

TRACK LIST:

1.  Lost in the Woods 5:05
2.  Escape from Canaan 4:10
3.  Moorish Rhapsody 4:15
4.  The Garden of Mysteries 3:02
5.  Monsoon 2:50
6.  Over the Wall 3:58
7.  Karakoram Waltz 5:10
8.  Muscarin Madness 4:50
9.  Deep Saffron 5:19
10. Night of the Baskerville Killer 6:34
11. The Endless City 3:13
12. Cities 5:40
13. Cloudburst 5:23

LINEUP:

Peter Lindahl  vocals; keyboards; guitars, bass, saz; violin; flute
H?kan Almkvist - sitar, e-bow guitar, bass; tabla
With:
Stefan Andersson  bass, guitar
Mikael Gejel  sampling; flute 
Robert Eklund  archlute 
Marcos Chagallo  violin 
Ulf Hansson  darbouka 
Kristina Fuentes  backing vocals
Helena Selander  backing vocals
Helena Jacobssen  backing vocals
Karin Langhard-Gejel  backing vocals

Prolusion. IN THE LABYRINTH is the creative vehicle of Swedish composer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Lindahl. Just when this venture was formed and named is a bit uncertain, but in 1994 the first full album production with music issued under this moniker was released as "The Garden of Mysteries". Since then two more albums followed, the most recent of these "Dryad" from 2002. "One Trail to Heaven" is a compilation pulled from all of these CDs, and was issued by the US label Trail Records in 2011.

Analysis. The US-based label Trail Records has made a fine job in unearthing and releasing under-appreciated and overlooked artists in the last few years, specializing in music generally coined as psychedelic progressive rock, and not limiting themselves to merely assembling the usual dime a dozen best of compilations or reissuing previously released items either. Each of their releases consists solely of tracks that have been given a superior remastering, and also sports new artwork. And in the case of In the Labyrinth, two previously unreleased tracks and a cover version of Cities by The Moody Blues have been thrown in for additional value. What separates this eleventh album from this small, high quality label from all of their previous releases is the shift in style. In the Labyrinth do incorporate some psychedelic touches in their various excursions, most commonly raga-inspired string instrumentation, but by and large, this is a project with a firm foundation in folk music, or perhaps world music is a better description. Drums and percussion are firmly cemented within folk music traditions throughout, eastern-tinged and tribal inspired the most common rhythmic backbone, with the occasional lapse into territories emphasizing Western and Celtic traditions. And what goes for the rhythm department is very much the case for the other instruments utilized as well, in a variety of subtly different approaches. Escape from Canaan is firmly based on Middle Eastern-inspired folk music, performance and instrumentation both inspiring most Western based listeners to think about this geographical region. While this particular creation is a one of a kind on this disc, a more common approach is explored on cuts like Deep Saffron, where the Eastern sounds carry more of an Arabian-oriented flavoring. And the most common sound can be exemplified by a track like Muscarin Madness, a piece that neatly combines details from both Eastern and Western folk music. In the cuts featuring lead vocals Lindahl's approach is a fascinating and effective one incidentally, giving most of the exotic-sounding instrumental textures and details plenty of space for the non-vocal parts, while the vocal themes - as well as the vocals themselves - are more firmly based on Western European folk music. Symphonic backdrops cater for most of the progressive parts of this musical mixture, although a fair bit of structural development and sophisticated instrumental arrangements do add an art-rock sheen to the proceedings as well. The compositions are rarely challenging however, and the charm and beauty of these creations reside in the subtle and exotic department rather than the unpredictable and dramatic.

Conclusion. Progressive folk music with psychedelic details is the name of the game as far as In the Labyrinth goes, beautiful and exotic music the territory explored, far away from the boundary challenging music of the great innovators, closer at hand to the likes of Gandalf and Vangelis. More refined and sophisticated than either of them, more progressive if you wish, but ultimately music whose charms will reside in sound and arrangements rather than structural development or instrumental virtuosity. If you enjoy artists like the aforementioned Gandalf alongside Eastern-tinged music and find the thought of the two combined within a progressive framework tantalizing, In the Labrinth is an artist that will provide you with many delightful experiences.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 15, 2011
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Trail Records
In the Labyrinth


[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]

ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages