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Deluge Grander - 2017 - "Oceanarium"

(79:51: Emkog Records)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. A Numbered Rat, a High Ledge, and a Maze of Horizons 11:30
2. Drifting Inner Skyline Space 8:28
3. The Blunt Sun and the Hardened Moon 15:25
4. Finding a Valley in a Gray Area on a Map 3:24
5. Finding a Shipwreck in a Valley in an Ocean 6:19
6. Tropical Detective Squadron 14:10
7. Marooned and Torn Asunder 8:06
8. Water to Glass - The Ultimate Solution 12:29


Dan Britton - keyboards, guitars, various instruments
Brett d'Anon -  bass, guitars
Dave Berggren -  guitars
Neil Brown - trumpet
Steve Churchill - oboe
Brian Falkowski - saxophone, flute, clarinet
Denis Malloy - clarinet
Corey Sansolo - trombone
Natalie Spehar - cello
Zack Stachowski - violin

Prolusion. US band Deluge Grander appears to be the creative vehicle of composer and musician Dan Britton to a greater extent than being a band unit as such, and from the band was formed back in 2005 and at the time of writing five studio productions have been released under this band name. Their fourth album "Oceanarium" dates back to 2017, and was released through the band's own label Emkog Records.

Analysis. Deluge Grander have by and large been perceived as a symphonic progressive rock band, and while I do agree that this may well be the best classification, there is a bit of an eclectic swagger to the material explored on this specific album too. In addition I do believe that those looking for music that incorporate majestic and expressive music drawing in impulses from classical symphonic music may just find this production to be on the disappointing side of matters, as my impression is that the impulses explored here have a stronger relation with classical music exploring the landscapes that aren't directly tied in to the symphonic tradition as such. The compositions here tend to be fairly calm and collected, using multiple textures that individually have more of a delicate and fragile nature but that combined forms arrangements with a tight and often vibrant core. Quite a few instruments from the world of classical music are brought in to add additional flavoring beyond the scope of what keyboards and the electric guitar can produce, and alongside what sounds very much like a deliberate vintage style mix and production we get a smooth soundscape of the kind that gives me associations to the word organic. The instrumental compositions ebb and flow in pace and intensity, and will take plenty of detours and enter some unexpected landscapes along the way too. Several passages with a subtle or more prominent Americasna oriented flavoring can be mentioned for starters, and the inclusion of world music and Eastern sounding folk music elements are mainstay features as well. On the other extreme we get quite a few sequences that have more of a classical chamber music feel to them, and more careful as well as slightly more playful traces of jazzrock does sneak in here and there too. More flowing Crimsonian types of landscapes exist quite nicely here too, and on several occasions the arrangements will segue over to darker, haunting and more ominous sounding tapestries as well. That we also have some more romantic pastoral sequences and the occasional dramatic surges many fans of vintage era symphonic progressive rock expect to hear is perhaps a given, but a bit more unexpected may be that we also get a few instances of movements with a bit more of an avant touch to them. With some gentler emotional landscapes similar in orientation to what Camel explored back in the day as a little bit of a bonus feature. It is quite the multifaceted and multidimensional production we are dealing with here, and a clear case of an album that will require multiple listens just to get to grips with everything that is going on here. If not directly challenging music this is at least a demanding creation, and music you really can't listen to with half an ear. This is material that requires full attention throughout, if not the chances are good that the compositions here will be experienced as confusing and chaotic.

Conclusion. "Oceanarium" is one more instance of a high quality production from the mind of Dan Britton and the hands of him and his fellow musicians. More subtle and nuanced in construction and with many sides, facets and dimensions, this variety of inclusive and vintage oriented progressive rock isn't what one would describe as accessible or directly listener friendly. But for those willing to set aside time and make the effort needed to get familiar with the contents of this production the experience will be one that is gradually more rewarding for each successive listen. A production to seek out for those who enjoy sophisticated and demanding instrumental progressive rock made with an inclusive and progressive spirit and a vintage orientation.

Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Deluge Grander

Emkog Records


ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages