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Dissonati - 2012 - "Reductio ad Absurdum"

(51:35, ‘Dissonati’)


1.  Can You Hear Me 10:11
2.  Middle Man 6:41
3.  Age of Foeces 4:09
4.  Mindwarp 4:31
5.  Senescence 6:59
6.  Driver 5:25
7.  The Sleeper 13:39


Ron Rutherford – vocals; el. & ac. guitars, bass; keyboards
John Hagelbarger – keyboards; sax, woodwinds; vocals
John Reagan – drums 

Prolusion. The US act DISSONATI was formed back in 2006, and appears to be the creative vehicle of Ron Rutherford. At least he is the main songwriter, and handles most of the instrumental duties himself. "Redcutio ad Absurdum" is the band’s full length debut, and was self-released in the summer of 2012.

Analysis. Dissonati has opted for a nice and fairly innovative stylistic expression on their first album, and to some extent. one might say that the core features of their material is referenced in band name and album name both. At the same time I'll have to stress that this is a band that produces a fairly accessible blend of progressive rock, an aspect that neither band nor album name gives an automatic association towards. The spirit of symphonic progressive rock hovers on top and around the compositions of this disc. Clever use of keyboard textures adds a symphonic atmosphere to the proceedings, but in a manner referencing symphonic progressive rock rather than symphonic classical music as such, I might add. The arrangements and overall structure are fairly easygoing, with a distinct emphasis on melody and recurring relatively basic lead and supporting motifs as key elements. The bass guitar has a central role in all pieces, backed by steady drums, and on top the gruff vocals of Rutherford is a strong identity mark in itself. He does struggle a bit on sequences demanding impact delivery, especially when he needs to hit the highest notes of his register, but when utilizing the lower parts of his voice his delivery is impeccable. Most of all when he opts for more of a talk-like delivery, but also when employing more of a melodic touch his vocals come to their right as long as he stays put within the lower regions. The one additional feature of this production not touched upon so far is the guitar however. Supporting quite nicely in the vocal sequences, but whenever a compositions kicks off into an instrumental passage a further element is introduced, one often referred to as Frippian, guitar motifs that make liberal use of odd sounding tonal ranges in themselves or what comes across as slightly odd in the overall context. Mostly gentle and fairly melodic in delivery, easy to grasp and comprehend, but performed in a manner that begs and invites to comparisons towards Robert Fripp in general and his late 70's/early ‘80’s work in particular. Not as complex as the original by far, but sharing certain tone and delivery similarities that makes it impossible not to make this comparison. A few additional aspects make infrequent appearances too, the most striking of these on MIndwarp, a piece with a fairly liberal use of psych-dripping guitar soloing and the occasional cosmic keyboard effects broadening the musical palette quite nicely. The whimsical layered vocals and frail harpsichord initial lead motif on Age of Foeces are another nifty detail worth mentioning, although perhaps not quite as impressive in the overall context.

Conclusion. Accessible, melodic progressive rock of the easygoing kind is what Dissonati presents on their debut album, referencing symphonic progressive rock by association rather than style as such, and with nods in the direction of King Crimson in general and Robert Fripp in particular as a central and characteristic trait, again by association rather than performance and arrangements as such. An album worth exploring if you tend to enjoy melodic progressive rock without an abundance of challenging features, at the same time as you enjoy quirks and details of a more subtle nature overall.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 13, 2012
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