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TRACK LIST: 1. The Day Is Done 6:51 2. Take My Home 8:47 3. Portrait of a Man 11:19 4. Getaway 7:44 5. Running Through the Lands 2:56 6. Your Name 8:54 7. Mother's Dirge 10:45 8. Lost Voices 1:12 LINEUP: Alex Massari - guitars, vocals Daniele Giovannoni - drums, keyboards, vocals with: Sara Rinaldi - vocals Valerio Sgargi - voice Emilio Merone - piano, keyboards Luca Uggias - piano Lara Bagnati - flute Geoff Leigh - flute Alessandro Cefali - bass Colin Edwin - bass
Prolusion. Italian band KARMAMOI was formed in 2008 in Italy, initially a 5 man strong venture but for the last few years reduced to a core of two permanent members - at least as far as studio activities are concerned. "The Day Is Done" is the third fourth production by the band, featuring cure duo of permanent members and quite a few additional musicians that was required for recording purposes. The album was released through UK label Sonicbond at the tail end of the fall season in 2018.
Analysis. Karmamoi is a band that is difficult to tie down to any specific subsection of progressive rock. That has always been the case with this band, if my recollection is correct, and that is pretty much the case also this time around. For general purposes, I'd suggest that the description accessible, modern progressive rock should reveal quite a lot about what this band is about though. A description that says a lot about what the band is as well as what it isn't. This is a band that blends the new with the old and the old with the new. Traditional rock instruments, with guitars and keyboards leading the way, but also with electronic sounds and effects as a significant and often vital part of the arrangements. Not a new nor a truly novel combination of course, but Karmamoi have a few tricks up their sleeve that is theirs more than anything else. As one might expect from a band described in this manner, we do get a liberal amount of Floydian moments. Dark, careful yet haunting and brooding. Acoustic and electric guityars combined with keyboards to create those captivating moods and atmospheres that made later day Pink Floyd a money machine. But we are also treated to a vast array of gentler interludes and passages. Sequences of a more frail and soft nature, adding in an ever so slight fragrance of ambient music into these landscapes. A select few harder edged and more striking and dramatic details have their place here as well, but of a kind and nature that stays well put within a rock context and rarely if ever venturing into a more metal oriented mode of delivery. The female lead vocals used extensively throughout, careful with a slight and soft rasp to them, is a beautiful contrast to all of these variations, and stands as a general contrast to the use of electronic sounds and textures that tends to flavor these soundscapes as well. The vocals is one of the strong identity marks for this band. As a standalone feature of course, but also how they work in the greater context of the songs and arrangements as such. The second identity mark, more or less, is that they do not sound all that similar to a band like Porcupine Tree - or at least not all the time. Vocals aside, the type of progressive rock explored here does pretty much use and utilize the same or similar elements as Porcupine Tree used to do, and to manage to avoid sounding totally familiar to them is arguably something of an accomplishment. There are similarities here and there of course, and fans of bands such as Gilmour era Pink Floyd, Airbag and possibly No-Man as well will find familiar sounding details, passages and sequences. But only rarely directly comparable, at least to my ears, and for me that is a good thing indeed.
Conclusion. Karmamoi is a band growing in stature and popularity, and if they continue to create albums such as "The Day Is Done" that is a development that will continue. Existing somewhere inside the quadrant of Pink Floyd, Airbag, No-Man and Porcupine Tree, they create accessible, modern and controlled progressive rock. Personally I'd suggest fans of Porcupine Tree in particular to give this album a spin. It is different, but I rather suspect that the many familiar sounding elements Karmamoi brings to their table will come across as both familiar and compelling for many fans of Porcupine Tree in particular.
Progmessor: November 27th, 2018
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