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9.5/10 Avi
 

FIVE-STOREY ENSEMBLE - Not That City - CD - Altrock - 2013

Five-Storey Ensemble is one of two groups to emerge out of the Belarus based, modern progressive rock band Rational Diet, and while we were immediately struck by the second Rational Diet release at the time (see issue #71 for the review), this one took a bit of getting used to, probably due to its more restrained nature.

But we persisted, gradually acknowledging this is truly an original work of art. Five-Storey Ensemble's output is indeed reserved, but that does not mean it is any less interesting or impressive. In fact, listening to this album is an adventure, full of mystic roads, luring sceneries and sensual temptations. We dare you to listen to the vocal dialogue on "Yesterday Dormant" and tell us it does not belong in motion pictures - it is so animated and expressive, supported by music which holds a built-in tension. The singing on this recording is truly beautiful, and even though we are not typically moved by classical music inspired chanting, we find the vocal performance here stirring (and we only wish we knew what the lyrics are saying, as they are in the group's native language).

Unlike the aforementioned Rational Diet release, this one carefully unfolds. The opening piece - "The Harbinger" - is true to its name, serving as an exposition with marvelous, bright sounding reeds contrasted by moodier strings, piano and accordion that insinuate an emerging threat. There is certainly less rock here, and the music shares its elaborated, dark compositions and its esthetics with Univers Zero and Art Bears, but also with classical music and the slavic chill. Some of the detailed orchestration - especially in its way of utilizing the reeds and strings to form harmonious movements - is considerably modern classical (perhaps even romantic), and cleverly aids the avant garde exploration to act without compromising the naturalness of the music, which maintains a majestic elegance throughout. As a weird and slightly abnormal manifestation of this, we suggest you sample "Amid The Smoke And Different Questions," which sporadically serves a drone over contemporary music, baroque music and finally some free styled avant garde. (9.5/10)

[This is a revised version of the review which appeared in our Facebook blog Gut Feeling]

 

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ISSUE 75
ALBUM REVIEWS

(B-D)  (D-G)  (G-H)  (I-M)  (M-S)  (S-T)  (U-Y)

DEMOGORGON
Where is He...?

DOUBT
Mercy, Pity, Pe

EMPTY DAYS
Empty Days

FIVE-STOREY ENS...
Not That City

FORLORN CHAMBER...
Unborn and Holl

FROM BENEATH BI...
Monolith

GARDARIKA
Chthonica

GIGAN
Multi-Dimension

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