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(66:32, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Aftermath of Silence 18:07 2. Kryptonite Monologues 20:47 3. The Irrelevant Lovesong 8:09 4. Psychoanorexia 19:29 SOLO PILOT: T – vocals; all instruments
Prolusion. The German project T is the creative vehicle of one Thomas Thielen, once a member of the German band Scythe, but now with a solo career that has been ongoing for more than a decade. "Psychoanorexia" is his fourth full length production, and was released at the start of 2013 by the German label Progressive Promotion Records.
Analysis. Progressive rock is a description that covers a fairly broad range of musical expressions, but a common denominator for many artists active in the genre is that they look back in time for inspiration. To the extent that this is a clear and distinct feature of the music they produce today. Others may reference the giants of the genre in manners more subtle and hidden, to the extent that it's fairly difficult to trace the end result released today back to those influences. Especially if utilizing a fair deal of sounds, effects and moods of a more contemporary type. Which is where I'd place German artist T. His latest production is among those albums you'll need to listen through a number of times merely to catch everything that's going on. Analyzing this disc in a more detailed manner is a task that is really beyond me at this point in time, I'd need a solid run of twenty or perhaps even thirty more intent listening sessions to even come close to that. An album that is fairly challenging and demanding, but in a modern way. Instrument movements, complex rhythms and genre defying conventions aren't really a part of this particular package, and fans of material of the RIO and avant-garde variety will most likely not find this production to their liking. A fair few recurring details not too far removed from neo progressive rock make this part of the progressive rock universe a likely placement, albeit this isn't what one might describe as a typical specimen of that particular species either. The compositions at hand are all multi-themed, although not of the kind that repeats any given theme too often. In this context the songs are more like journeys really, always moving forward towards a set goal without finding the need to revisit past locations too often. The themes explored are rather varied as well, with ample room for calm. ambient sequences just as much as frail piano and acoustic guitar driven passages, distorted inserts of a more purebred electronic nature as well as majestic ones with layers upon layers of textures assembled in a careful manner to fill the soundscape to the brim with minor and major details to enjoy. There's also room for harder hitting escapades, frantic and driven verging on progressive metal in style, occasionally with an industrial touch to them. The post rock-style textured instrumentation is just as natural in this tapestry of sounds as majestic symphonic escapades replicating a symphony orchestra, broken down distorted excursions closer to the likes of Nine Inch Nails has just as much a home here as harmonic sections referencing symphonic progressive rock as seen through digital eyes. But between all variations, sparse and raw arrangements, frail inserts and majestic ones with a stupid amount of sounds applied, the feature that makes all of this work are the lead vocals. Clever use of vocal effects sees to it that also this feature comes with a fair degree of variation. Up front and dominating the proceedings, distanced and haunting, frantic and emotional, careful and frail. Placement in the mix, distortions applied and emotional strengthening through intensity and layering... you could probably write several paragraphs on the use of vocals alone on this production. I'm pretty certain that Thomas Thielen is something of a perfectionist. The amount of hours it has taken to produce this album is a thought that in itself is unsettling to think about. He has done everything himself after all, and especially the arrangements sporting multiple layers of sounds and effects in addition to multiple layers of instrumentation with and without effect treatments are impressive in themselves in that particular context. And even in these congested parts of the compositions he has made sure that the vocals are catered for with care. An impressive and varied slice of contemporary based, modern progressive rock.
Conclusion. "Psychoanorexia" is an album that arguably may be placed within a neo progressive context, albeit at the very borders of that style and even then stretching it quite a bit. Sporting a plethora of themes with great variety in pace, intensity and overall expression, liberal use of electronic effects and an overall modern sound, this is a production that should appeal to the progressive rock explorers of today: people with an interest in sophisticated rock created and delivered with a foundation in the world as it is right now.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 5, 2013
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