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Lesoir - 2017 - "Latitude"

(62:09; Gentle Art of Music)


TRACK LIST: 1. Modern Goddess 4:31 2. In the Game 5:27 3. Icon 4:02 4. In Their Eyes 7:24 5. Gone and Forgotten 5:31 6. Edenís Garden 6:45 7. Zeroes and Ones 4:10 8. Kissed by Sunlight 4:58 9. Cheap Trade 3:10 10. Comforting Rain 4:16 11. Latitude 3:39 12. Faith Is 6:21 13. Cradle Song 1:55 LINE UP : Maartje Meessen - vocals, flute, piano Ingo Dassen - guitars Eleen Bartholomeus - vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion Ingo Jetten - bass Bob van Heumen - drums

Prolusion. Dutch band Lesoir started out back in 2009 with Maartje Meessen and Ingo Dassen as the founding members, and from 2011 and onward they have been a band releasing new material at a fairly steady pace with five studio albums to their name at the time of writing. Their fourth album "Latitude" dates back to 2017, and was released through German label Gentle Art of Music.

Analysis. Lesoir is one of those bands that are difficult to place inside a tightly defined tradition, but with the often powerful sides explored on this production in mind I'd say that this production probably merits a description inside of a hard progressive rock context somewhere. That being said, this is a creation with many sides to it, and is in no way an album exploring one aspect of progressive rock exclusively. In some ways this is an album that for many will be a bit challenging to get into, as the opening parts of the compositions in most cases aren't of the kind that grabs your attention in a big way. Ambient parts and dampened arrangements mixed with a distant sounding effect as well as sparse arrangements takes turns in providing the opening parts for most of the songs here, with electronic details often providing subtle but important details and the landscapes presented being perhaps a bit overly relaxed in nature at times. It is when these opening parts explodes into power and motion that the individual songs and the album experience really kicks off here, and while many compositions will continue to ebb and flow between powerful and more careful sections, with both jazz and folk music elements and even some pastoral sequences appearing here and there alongside electronic tinged dreamladen interludes, it is when the compositions returns to and stays inside of the more powerful sections that we get a serious lift off here. Whenever Lesoir enters their more vibrant, harder edged and at times borderline metal landscapes, they do so in a manner that sometimes reminds ever so slightly of Tool, and on other occasions and perhaps more frequently overall they enter the kind of smooth but deep and rich atmospheric laden landscapes I will always associate with Polish band Riverside. Once a song has entered the cycle where the song ebb and flow between these landscapes and the more gentle or more expressive passages they move towards before returning again these songs rise in stature. The tension is present, there's a vibrant feel and interest is both maintained and strengthened. Even when we get a more spoken like vocal style closer to hip hop on one occasion this adds rather than subtracts from the experience. "Latitude" isn't the easiest of albums to get into, as the often soft and delicate opening parts demands focus from the listener, and the constant ebb and flow nature most of the compositions have and the inclusive and broad nature of the different arrangements and orientations explored also puts demands on the listener, but for those that make the effort and have the right mind set, this will be a richly rewarding album that have enough content for multiple listens for many years to come.

Conclusion. "Latitude" strikes me as an album that should be referred to people that have a fairly broad and inclusive taste in music. A certain affection for dreamladen and atmospheric music as well as ambient moods is a bit of a requirement here, and a taste for the more vibrant landscapes of a band like Tool and the deeper atmospheric laden territories explored by Riverside will be just about as important. But for those who can check this trio of requirements, and also have a generally inclusive taste in music, "Latitude" is a production that will reward the listener in a big way. This may be a bit more of a niche production, but it is also a niche production with an undeniably high quality and, in my view at least, a strong contender for an album that in future years will be pulled out as a forgotten jewel and a rediscovered classic.

Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room

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