to eleven


Review: 17 Pygmies – CII: Second Son by Jayson
April 20, 2011, 10:16 am
Filed under: Ambient, Review, Rock | Tags: , , ,

Last year prog rock was kind of a thing, at least in the world of metal. I listened to my share of prog/metal and even enjoyed some, but I really never thought it could honestly be described as genuine prog, a little bit of guitar noodling between riffs is ok, but that is all it ever was.

17 Pygmies plays the real thing. Established in 1982, there is a an authenticity to their musical approach grounded in a lineage stretching back to the original era of prog and space rock. CII is the second part of a three-part epic space-opera which is also an exploration of religious themes. There are actually two pieces of short fiction that accompany Celestina and CII; the literal narrative of events of the music in the two albums. I don’t want to delve too deeply for the purpose of a review, but  those works definitely add a  layer of complexity that goes past what you find on the average concept album.

The music taken by itself is great. There is a beautiful, almost low-key majesty to it. The album unfolds the story at its own pace. There are pieces that are a more traditional songs featuring great vocals by Meg Maryatt and more instrumental compositions that incorporate both the traditional synthesizer sounds of you associate with space rock with very gentle touches of contemporary and classical sounds. While I enjoyed it on the first listen, the album took me a few weeks to “get.”

Any prog and space rock fan owes it to themselves to check this out.

CELESTINA XX

The album is available from Maryatt Music and Trakwerx Records.

– Jayson

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