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(45:49, Strangiato Records / Hyper Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. No or Yes 3:34 2. Brothers 3:05 3. Kettle 2:01 4. Melting Memories 3:59 5. Up Up 4:16 6. Old Stories 6:35 7. Aine 4:32 8. Above 4:24 9. More 4:23 10. Simple Past 9:00 LINEUP: Robert Jurjendal - guitars, ebow, percussion, keyboards Andrus Lillepea - drums with: Lotte - samples Six - sounds
Prolusion. Estonian composer and musician Robert JURJENDAL has a career as a musician that goes back to the 1990's, at least as far as being a recording artist is concerned. Following many years as a band member in various constellations he started issuing solo material and collaborative recordings around 10 years ago. "Simple Past" dates back to 2016, it is the fourth studio album to be released as a standalone solo album by Jurjendal and was released through Estonian label Hyper Records via their Strangiato Records imprint.
Analysis. It would appear that Jurjendal has a name perhaps more well known in jazz circles than in progressive circles, although my perceptions may well be misleading there. It would appear that he is rather well known among fellow musicians though, at least that may be indicated by the fact that he collaborated with Colin Edwin on an album earlier this very year. Other fairly well known musicians he has worked with in the past are people such as Markus Reuter and Toyah Wilcox. As far as this particular album is concerned, there aren't too many jazzier details to be found here however, although some of the rhythm and percussion details will probably have some inspiration from that field. There isn't all that much of a traditional rock music approach to the material here either, as a matter of fact, although all things considered this is a CD that will probably be filed under rock rather than something else. Something of a common denominator throughout here are floating, ambient textures. Quite a few of the compositions focus in on the ambient type of music throughout, growing into a layered, beautiful but also somewhat stagnant and one-dimensional display, and more or less staying put there until the end. Music that will be somewhat divisive I guess, as some love and treasure the ongoing, solemn beauty of such sound constellations while others have a need for a composition to develop on a somewhat greater scale. Other compositions adds in more of a rock spirit, with post-rock type instrument textures as well as atmospheric laden guitar solo runs with appropriate keyboard support adding something of a neo-progressive spirit to these excursions. The album as such is a well made one, and the quality of the musicianship is undeniable. A subtly annoying feature is how some of the songs are cut off a second or two too early though, and while not important as such it gives this production an ever so slight touch of lacking quality that belies the craftsmanship that runs through all other aspects of this CD.
Conclusion. "Simple Past" is an album that combines traits from the universes of post-rock and neo-progressive rock and explore them inside an ambient music context, occasionally with some jazz details added to the proceedings or a slight touch of world music seasoning added to the stew. The end result is a production I suspect will have a stronger appeal among fans of ambient music than among fans of progressive rock, but if you tend to enjoy artists exploring material that incorporate facets as described, then I suspect you will find this album a rather rewarding one to encounter.
Progmessor: October 28th, 2018
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