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(56:55, MALS Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. I've Been Losing 4:04 2. End of Time 5:57 3. Better Days than These 4:54 4. Time Enough for Love 4:47 5. Cold Rain 4:46 6. Fairwell Guru 4:34 7. It's Over 4:54 8. River 3:56 9. Learning to Fly 4:48 10. Dance Goes On 5:10 11. Parallel Dimensions 4:32 12. Waltz with a Vampire 4:33 LINEUP: Roman Bershadsky keyboards, bass; vocals; programming With: Terry Skirko drums, tablas, percussion Andrei Stebakoc guitars Jeremy Wheaton bass Jodi Krangle vocals Karl Mohr vocals Adriano Spina vocals Ashot Ovanessian violin Roman M violin; flute; guitars
Prolusion. MOEBIUS CAT is the creative vehicle of Canadian composer and instrumentalist Roman Bershadsky. The first album to be released under this moniker was "Arrivals Departures" in 2003. "End of Time" is the project's sophomore production, initially digitally released in 2010, and reissued by Russia MALS Records on CD in 2012.
Analysis. Sometimes trying to place a band within a stylistic context isn't always the most appropriate. Not that this information isn't important as such, but because it feels like a band has opted for an atmosphere and a mood rather than a stylistic expression as such. In the case of Moebius Cat the mood in question is a mystical one, almost introspective in character. In terms of style I would guess that progressive folk rock is the most appropriate description, but in a manner that has closer bearings to a fantasy version of this expression rather than one utilizing the traditions of ancient times. Vocals and piano are key ingredients throughout, with strong and distinct female vocals on some pieces and deep male vocals on most others, the latter of a kind and timbre that is pretty close to the likes of David Bowie, although without any further similarities in that direction. The songs themselves are a fairly varied bunch, where flute, violin and glockenspiel are recurring elements; the accordion gets its occasional spots in the limelight, and also with room for what sounds like harp and sitar, many of these instruments, presumably, in digital varieties. Digital symphonic backdrops are another effect encountered to a lesser or greater extent throughout, and infrequent use of darker toned guitar riffs is another part of the musical palette here. These various instruments and effects are then applied to compositional structures of a relatively straightforward manner. Moods and atmospheres are always key features, the effects and instruments used from one track to the other frequently rather different in nature. Opening piece I've Been Losing is a female vocals performance set to what may be described as folk oriented chamber music; the following number End of Time explores a more contemporary sound utilizing accordion and plucked strings to good effect, while the following effort Better Days Than These introduces us to the male vocalist first time around in a creation employing darker toned guitar riffs, symphonic backdrops and some neat violin details. Farewell Guru has more of a raga-tinged expression, while a track like Learning to Fly is a more purebred mainstream rock excursion. The common denominator throughout is a distinct mystical, otherworldly mood of the kind that brings forth associations to the realms of the fantastic, of high adventures in magical kingdoms. And it is a fairly well made album of its kind too. The themes and motifs are generally of a compelling nature, and a piece like River is just breathtaking. Some strained vocals, a few digital instruments sounding just a tad off and an electric guitar with a sound and texture a tad too gritty for its own good are the main negative remarks from me. Small details, but each of them is slightly disruptive to the mood explored when they appear. Nothing that most listeners will notice, I guess, but for those who know that they are sensible to such this will be useful knowledge.
Conclusion. While one might conclude that Moebius Cats second album is one that can be sorted under progressive folk rock, it would appear that it is the mystical atmospheres that are the key features rather than the stylistic expression as such. The songs are mostly straightforward and easygoing in nature, and I suspect that those with a taste for rock music of a gently sophisticated nature, who also have a passion for the realms of the fantastic, should be something of a key audience for this disc.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: September 15, 2012
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