After spending years honing their hugely atmospheric post rock sound, Spanish prog/rock band Toundra hit something of a career high with their 2018 album ‘Vortex’. With its huge soundscapes of clean, shimmering guitar and crushing, yet melodic riffs, it came close to post rock perfection; more accessible than the likes of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and more focused than The Bloody Mallard. Obviously, the instrumental stance meant those listening rewards weren’t always immediate, but the best riffs eventually crawled into the subconscious in a really cool way. The follow up, a recording inspired by Robert Wiene’s Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, showed a more adventurous approach via its longer pieces, but continued the band’s natural musical ascent.
Following on from 2019’s ‘Everything Is Coloured’, ‘We Were The Moon’ is another fine, mellow yet complex work from Dutch instrumental act Eskina. Its ten ambient oriented pieces have very strong roots of chamber music, with a dominant cello and viola used effectively throughout, and by twisting through arrangements with slight overtones of prog and plenty of massive soundtrack-like moods, the musicians create something that’s both rich and rewarding.
A rattle; a cranking sound that suggests revving; muted guitar sounds set against an ominous quiet… At the outset of this EP from fusion musician James Basdanis, things start so disjointedly they give no obvious clue as to where the music will go. After a little more gearing up, Basdanis turns out a few jazzy guitar notes in a melody that strongly suggests a Mediterranean slant, but this isn’t obviously something a world music buff might gravitate towards. Nor is it especially “jazz” in the most traditional sense, but certainly takes in elements of both. Hearing it for the first time, the slow, unfolding melody suggests something from the Frank Gambale back-cat mangled with glee by a Les Claypool project.
In January, London based art rockers The Bloody Mallard kicked off the new year by sharing the heavy and complex ‘Subject To Entropy’. A month on, the band have returned with another taster for their upcoming album ‘Realm’.
In the band’s own words, the new single ‘Ceremonious Synapses (ii)’ “signals the most climatic point of the album”. From a listening perspective, it shows the band in a more melodic light than before, but without losing any of their riff-based strengths.
Based in London, The Bloody Mallard mixes metal riffs with post rock ideas, while occasional elements of dark psychedelia inform a broad and progressive instrumental sound.