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(30:55, ‘Star FK Radium’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Solitude Rotation 4:19 2. A Month's Lifetime 4:44 3. Daisypop 2:14 4. Honey Jarz 5:23 5. Morning Star 1:24 6. My Favorite Colour 4:04 7. Rhythm of Breathing 2:03 8. Song #8 2:58 9. Will It Fly 3:46 LINEUP: Bill Martien – guitars Matt Clarke – drums Alissa Taylor – violin
Prolusion. The US trio STAR FK RADIUM was formed around 2007, and became a performing live unit in 2009. The following year they released their debut album "Blue Siberia". A stable unit at this point, they have kept on being an active live unit since, and in 2012 they also released their second full length album "Solitude Rotation".
Analysis. Star FK Radium is a band with a somewhat unusual instrumentation: drums, acoustic guitar and violin. Acoustic music in other words, and of a sparsely arranged nature at that. A challenging territory to explore, as the quality of compositions and performance alike are placed fully in the limelight in such a constellation. It is, I guess, relatively easy to create pleasant music using these instruments. Gentle acoustic guitars and mournful violin textures go well hand in hand, also with the somewhat more dramatic drums a presence, and initially that is just what the compositions at hand are too: a gentle, pleasant affair with a subtle melancholic presence. The gentle beauty of an autumn breeze, beautiful without making that much of an impression in its own right. But when this threesome heads out into somewhat more challenging territories the material gets all the more interesting as a result. Pairing off spirited acoustic guitars and drums contrasted by a slower paced violin on Honey Jarz, the multiple themed My Favorite Color sporting more closely intertwined instrument motifs, the gentle acoustic guitar and violin only piece Rhythm of Breathing, and at last Song No 8 and Will It Fly, both of them basically variations of the arrangements and approach explored on aforementioned Honey Jarz. A tad more complex and somewhat more sophisticated in nature all of them, and all the much better for it. Sporting starker contrasts, utilizing more subtle details or resonances, sporting arrangements featuring themes of a somewhat more elaborate nature. More, basically, for the mind to keep track of. All in all: an interesting band with an interesting album that deserves to find an audience.
Conclusion. Star FK Radium's acoustic excursions exist somewhere in between a triangle of chamber music, chamber rock and post rock, with the violin providing the textured characteristic of post rock as well as the references towards chamber music, the latter also the function of the acoustic guitar that might as well have been replaced by a harp for a classical chamber music performance I guess. Band and album alike merit a check by those with an interest in the types of music mentioned, and in particular by those who have an affection for all of them.
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