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(70:44; Saustark Records)
TRACK LIST 1. Veils Open 1:36 2. The Unavoidable Wayfare ... 13:25 3. ...To the Place of Origin 11:09 4. Mother of Depth 2:04 5. Nyade 2:54 6. The Art of Make-Up 2:22 7. Suprema Lex 8:13 8. Ignes Fatui 3:36 9. A Visit to the Mouse Barber 2:09 10. The End of Dithyramb 20:04 11. Curtain Call 3:12 LINEUP: Hans Jorg Schmitz - drums, keyboards, guitar, bass with: Dago Wilms - guitars, bass Gary Farmer - bass Steve Unruh - flute, violin Pantelis Petrakakis - bass Andrew Marshall - guitars Philipp Schmitz - keyboards, piano, voice Peter Simon - woodwinds Erik Vaxjo - Mellotron Chip Gremillion - keyboards Scott Taylor - Ulliann pipes Kathrin Daniel - voice Viktoria Papen - voice
Prolusion. German project KING OF AGOGIK is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Hans Jorg Schmitz, and from 2006 and onward he has released new albums at regular intervals through his own label Saustark Records. "Morning Star" is the sixth of the seven studio albums released under the King of Agogik name so far, and dates back to the start of 2017.
Analysis. King of Agogik is a fairly eclectic project, and one where the creator doesn't care all that much about styles and sub-genres I suspect. As he is a drummer it is reasonable to suspect that rhythms may be a more vital aspect in general, although this would be at a level where I surmise you would have to be a drummer yourself to notice to what extent that is the case. That being said, this isn't an album that will be an easy listen to those with a primary interest in specific sub-genres of progressive rock. This particular album can be roughly divided into two sets: A shorter set featuring a multitude of shorter compositions, and a longer set consisting of mainly epic length creations. The manner in which they have been placed suggests to me that many of the shorter ones have are meant to have the function of giving the listener time to collect their thoughts and impressions prior to the next long creation to embark, which for this kind of album is needed. hence these shorter tracks are also fairly easy to listen to, without any great amounts of challenging escapades or instrumental details. Most of them can probably be described as mood pieces one way or the other, albeit ones made with close attention to content and details to make them interesting experiences in their own right. A minor negative for me is the drum solo, 'The Art of Make-Up', which I suspect mainly will be of interest to other drummers. The longer compositions here are more interesting on many levels. The one common denominator is that they don't stay put within a single and specific orientation, and most of them will move between a multitude of styles along the way. But breaking them down into more details, I'd roughly state the following: 'The Unavoidable Way' mainly orients itself between expressive neo-progressive movements and harder, metal tinged excursions. '...to the Place of Origin' revolves more around a folk and world music oriented core foundation, 'Suprema Lex' has more of a progressive metal oriented intent while 'The End of Dithyramb' strikes me more as a meeting of folk and world music elements with neo-progressive rock. There's a lot more going on than described of course, with nods towards both jazz and classical music for starters. In addition, something of an ongoing feature throughout the album are tones, scales and rhythms that I for my sake associate with world music in general and Eastern European and Asian music in particular, and then perhaps the Middle East more than anything as far as the latter is concerned. Which may tie directly into the album title, as the morning star traditionally rises in the east. This in addition to the album's liner notes citing the poetry of Christian Morgenstern as a direct inspiration. One should also note that this album primarily is an instrumental one. Some spoken voices appear, as well as sampled spoken words by known and perhaps lesser known historical and other persons, but by and large this is an instrumental affair.
Conclusion. King of Agogik has a tendency to create albums featuring music that spans multiple styles and with a liberal amount of changes and alterations within each given composition, and not always with a logical connection between the different styles explored at that. These are music paintings more than anything else, at least as I regard them, fairly complex and challenging creations made as sound images rather than sound journeys. Somewhat different to listen to than many other artists, but also rewarding once you get the drift of it. An album to recommend to those with an open mind and free of the shackles of restricting their musical tastes to a defined selection of sub-genres of progressive rock.
Progmessor: July 23th 2019
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