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TRACK LIST: 1. Fjernsyn i Farver 8:05 2. Kniven i Kurven 8:09 3. Borgerlig Tussmorke 3:53 4. 3001 8:38 5. Death Czar 6:15 6. Toyens Hemmelighet 8:55 LINEUP: Benediktator / bass, vocals, glockenspiel, percussion Krizla / flute, vocals, electronics, percussion Marxo Solinas / keyboards HlewagastiR / drums, percussion
Prolusion. Norwegian band TUSMORKE was formed back in the middle of the 1990's, but didn't actually become recording artists until 2012. Since then the band have grown considerably in status and stature, with half a dozen albums to their name at this point. "Fjernsyn i Farver" is their most recent studio album, and was released by Norwegian label Karisma Records in the spring of 2018.
Analysis. Tusmorke have a reputation for being a strong, quality band with roots deep set in the folker landscapes of progressive rock in general, and then in the darker parts in particular, with comparisons going towards bands such as Black Widow just as much if note even more than towards the likes of, say, Jethro Tull. This won't change after this album, although Tusmorke as of 2018 is about much more than merely progressive folk rock. This is a vintage production ion many ways, that looks back to the 1970's quite a lot, but towards the darker parts of that decade as far as music goes, and towards the heavier parts of it at that. The organ is a central instrument throughout as a provider of dark, rich and heavy textures and details, supplemented quite nicely by a hard and booming bass guitar. Both instruments are also given a bit of a fuzz when needed, and the fact that there are no guitars on this album isn't one that will occupy your mind all that much. The grater parts of this album explores landscapes similar to aforementioned Black Widow and another likely suspect as far as inspiration goes would be Atomic Rooster. There's even a few passages where the band hits off on a vintage Black Sabbath tinged roll, and accomplish that beautifully without any guitar present. This is a driving and perhaps even driven production, intense as well, but also a production with room for the more elegant and, indeed, folk-oriented. The flute and piano caters for many of these gentler parts, and the harpsichord has been dusted off for some details as well. The rather particular vocal style of Krizla comes with a chant-like delivery rather naturally, which also gives many of these songs a folky sheen. And an occult one at that I should add. And this latter aspect will probably be the main weakness of this production as well. The vocals do tend to challenge you initially, and then at being a tad odd first and foremost. An acquired taste if you like. Personally I do not find that aspect to be detrimental, but as will often be the case with a non-conventional vocalist there will be people that find this to be ever so slightly alienating.
Conclusion. While "Fjernsyn i Farver" doesn't strike me as the most obvious buy for those with a fascination for the folkier landscapes of the progressive rock universe, this is an album featuring details that crowd would enjoy and to some extent this aspect of the band is one you need to enjoy, just like the striking vocals. But as far as I'm concerned, this is a production that by and large should find most favor among those who find bands such as Atomic Rooster and Black Widow to be compelling. For people with that leaning, that haven't come across Tusmorke yet, this production may well feel like a revelation when uncovered.
Progmessor: June 27th, 2018
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