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(42:04, Itaca Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. 1926 4:39 2. Samhain 4:18 3. Circumpolares 6:03 4. We Tripantu 4:49 5. Ingeborg 3:59 6. Magnitizdat 6:29 7. 1927 11:47 LINEUP: Miguel Sugui – guitars; synthesizers, sampling Gonzalo Presa – guitars; drums, sampling, voice Alvaro Parada – drums; saxophone; voice Paco Trujillo – bass
Prolusion. The Spanish band KERMIT was formed in 2011, and the main intent of the band was to investigate the musical possibilities given by using bass, two guitars and drums to explore the kind of music the band members were fascinated by. They released their debut album "Autoficcion" in 2012. "Litoral" is their second studio production, and was released through the Spanish label Itaca Records in 2014.
Analysis. Kermit is a band that has a go at what many would describe as post-rock, music characterized by using instrument textures to a much greater extent than notes, licks or riffs to create melodies, harmonies and moods. Their approach is a rather different one that what many other bands in this genre have, and they are also among the ones that don't limit their excursions into staying put solely within this tradition. A characteristic feature for the band is that the songs are fairly short, although one might also describe the material on this album as being two suites divided into four and three parts respectively. Even so the structure of this material is by and large not what one might describe as typical by a post-rock band. Each movement, or song if you like, tends to follow some rather firm patterns, where a solid bass-line is a central provider of momentum. Delicate and careful, as well as more hectic, nervous plucked guitars are a mainstay element throughout, either accompanied by a surging or floating second guitar texture or a secondary layer of plucked guitar notes. On concluding track 1927 we're also treated to a more psychedelic-tinged guitar display as the supplementing guitar detail. Adding depth and scope is the sometime use of firmer, more metallic-sounding guitar details. Another detail is interludes and sequences sporting a dual set of textured guitar produced layers floating, surging or fluctuating, on occasion with a darker toned and more menacing drone-tinged layer used to create a strong and dramatic contrast. While the band does utilize the expected ebb and flow structure of traditional post-rock at times, in building up to a majestic crescendo and then subsiding, the compositions as a whole tend to have a more sophisticated and less dramatic take on developing their material, and in addition they incorporate some rather distinctly jazz-oriented details. Mainly by way of drum patterns, but on the last couple of tracks also with some rather tasteful saxophone solo runs added to the proceedings. And while regular vocals aren't used (most post-rock bands tend to be instrumental after all), spoken and sampled voices are used to good effect to add at times fairly interesting details to the themes and motifs explored. All of the elements used, or just about at least, reach a brilliant album high on second to last creation Magnitizdat, a clear album highlight in my book. The concluding epic length composition 1927 also stands out, for being arguably the most jazz-oriented creation on this production, but also the track that is most aligned with regular post-rock in terms of structure and development.
Conclusion. The Spanish band Kermit has made an intriguing and enjoyable album with "Litoral", a marriage between post-rock and jazz where the former is the dominant part while the latter supplements the proceedings quite nicely with elegant details and arguably a few more sophisticated edges too. A production first and foremost aimed towards those with a liberal taste in music and an clear affection for post-rock, I'd guess, and a CD many who recognize themselves in that description should find highly enjoyable.
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