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Pymlico - 2012 - "Directions"

(56:19, ‘Spider House’)


1.  Compliments of Sharkey 4:57
2.  Heroes 14:01
3.  Little Grey Cells 6:11
4.  RW 6:24
5.  2208 6:35
6.  Regulus 18:11


Arild Broter – drums; keyboards; guitars
Axel Toreg Reite – bass 
Geir-Anders Haugen – guitars 
Mattias Krohn Nielsen – guitars 
Mads Tvinnereim Horn – guitars 
Oyvind Broter – Hammond, grand piano
Julie Falkevik Tungevaag – grand & el. piano
Fredrik Sydow Hage – saxophones 
Karoline Torkildsen – flute 

Prolusion. The Norwegian project PYMLICO is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Arild Broter, and one he uses to record and release music that falls within the progressive rock category. Pymlico's first album was released in 2011. "Directions" was issued in December 2012 through Broter's own label Spider House Records, and is the second production to be released under the Pymlico moniker.

Analysis. A short and simple definition of Pymlico's second full length production would be that it's an album a few minutes shy of being an hour’s worth of retro-oriented, instrumental progressive rock. You might want to add symphonic to that description too, as the keyboards do tend to dominate quite a bit here, in the shape of piano, organ, presumably emulated Mellotron and other tangents created textures generally applied to compositions of the symphonic oriented variety within a progressive rock context. The scope of this album does stretch beyond a singular exploration of this kind of music however, and doesn't shy away from incorporating effects of a more contemporary nature. But the general mood and expression is one that merits the retro-oriented description. Opening track Compliments of Sharkey revolved around a spirited dual themed organ driven construction supplemented by compact dark toned guitar riffs and melodic guitar soloing respectively, book-ending a compositions with a gentle, dream-laden keyboard and piano mid-section, fairly ambient in expression. Epic-length Heroes sticks closer to the likes of Camel with its partially longing guitar solo and partially layered keyboard driven passages, with delicate, pastoral flute and light toned guitar driven inserts as a nice and recurring effect. The Little Grey Cells utilizes cold, dark toned futuristic keyboard motifs alternating with a harder edged, dark toned guitar motif on top of a beefy bass guitar foundation, with space inspired effects on top, to bookend a creation sporting a brooding, mystical midsection sporting a sax solo on top of Middle East inspired keyboard textures. RW sounds like a tribute to the late Rick Wright, a tranquil piano and carefully surging keyboards construction with dramatic flurries that erupt into a majestic, richly layered and brooding Pink Floydian sounding affair. Playful electronic details and rhythms alternating with distinctly symphonic oriented passages is the name of the game of 2280, adding a touch of Tangerine Dream to the symphonic oriented escapades. Concluding epic Regulus is a multy-part cyclic construction, opening and ending with careful symphonic oriented movements that come with associations to the likes of Camel and Genesis, with a range of darker sounding, ghostly and partially menacing sections explored in between, incorporating a few purebred electronic oriented parts into this framework as well. Otherwise a composition that gave me associations to some of the more haunting Italian bands when the dark toned keyboard textures and twisted saxophone details were on some of their sassy, interwoven runs. There's not much to add to this I guess. Well made, well performed and well produced material, showcasing the talents of a strong composer as well as his and his musical friends instrumental expertise.

Conclusion. If you have an affection for progressive rock as it was made back in the 70's, Pymlico has joined the ranks of contemporary bands vying for your attention. Arild Brotner and his colleagues do so by way of an instrumental album of the symphonic kind, with a fair degree of variety in expression and delicately flavored with sounds and effects of a more contemporary nature. An album to seek out if symphonic progressive rock is a style of music you tend to enjoy, and in particular if you prefer the instrumental variety of it.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: November 7, 2013
The Rating Room

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