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Pythagoras - 2019 - "Live at Pulchri"

(78:59; Correlated Music)


TRACK LIST:                  

- A Cat's Tale:
1. Part 1 Manifesto 13:16
2. Part 2 Anecdote 9:45
3. Part 3 Conundrum 14:22
4. Part 4 Nightwatch 19:17
5. Sapristi! 8:42
6. A Cat's Tail 13:38


Rene de Haan - synthesizers, Mellotron
Rob Bothof - D-Robber custom looper
Peter Wassenaar - bass
Joshua Samson - drums, percussion

Prolusion. Dutch progressive rock band started out back in the late 1970's, and released two studio albums before calling it quits in 1984. The band has been resurrected however, first with key members Rene De Haan and Bob De Jong as the driving forces, and after De Jong passed way De Haan continues to create and release music under this band name. "Live at Pulchri" is Pythagoras' first ever live album, and was released through the band's label Correlated Music in 2019.

Analysis. While Pythagoras made a name for themselves by creating symphonic progressive rock back in the 1980's, the band that performed the live set in 2015 that has been captured on this production is a rather different unit on most levels. Some elements of the band's initial choice of music has been retained, but strikes me as more of an accidental feature than anything else. Which may of course be tied in to the surroundings of this performance, as it was given at an art exhibition featuring the works of Dutch artist Ilja Walraven. Hence one might presume that the music was made to fit into this context. There is an amalgam of different sounds and traditions that makes up the material here. For starters, while it is stated that the songs here are composed, they do come with a fairly liberal improvised sounding nature to them, to the point that makes me wonder just how much is composed and of there were certain elements here that didn't have a planned nature. Fans of improvised music in general will feel fairly quite at home with the music of this album as regarded in this specific context I'd presume. The drums tends to give an expressive and energetic backbone to the music, from steady going to more expressive and at times jazz-tinged. The bass guitar alternates between steady going rhythm support, groove-laden funky bass-lines and jazz-oriented movements, with my impression being that the latter aspect is the dominant one. A custom looper device is used to create the more odd sounds and effects throughout, liberally flavoring and partially dominating these excursions alongside the synthesizers and Mellotron provided by De Haan. The latter two instruments provides the details that have more of a symphonic flair to them, albeit not to the extent that this album could be described as being inside that category. Atmospheric, playful and expressive sounds provided by tangents, 'tron and loops is the main name of this particular game, dabbling with both ambient soundscapes and free form jazz-oriented escapades inside a context that appears to be more of a case of improvised, instrumental progressive rock than anything else. Progressive electronic music is given a nod or two along the way too, and there's even a sequence on the album where my notes were "kind of like a jazz band worked with The Prodigy". Hence there is also a fairly eclectic feel to this production and performance. Otherwise I note that this is a full album experience, as all the tracks in essence makes up a single song in this live performance, and I do get the impression that most if not all the artists involved do love their cats as well. This latter impression due to just about all songs on this album featuring instrument details that reminds of cat sounds, alongside the front cover image and all the images in the booklet all depicting cats. Somewhat emphasized by the name of the first song cycle and the final song on this album as well, obviously.

Conclusion. Pythagoras provides us with what one might describe as otherworldly sounding, eclectic oriented instrumental progressive rock on their first ever live album "Live at Pulchri". Often surprisingly easygoing and groove-oriented, but with plenty of finer details and expressive details and sections along the way. An album of creative, subtly-jazz-tinged instrumental progressive rock is the end result, and those who feel that this is a tantalizing description might just want to seek this album out.

Progmessor: December 18th 2019
The Rating Room

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