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Lapis Lazuli, 2012 - Reality Is

Добавил vp_1974 01.05.2014 в 18:58
Style: Avant-Prog / Eclectic Prog / Jazz-Rock
Country: United Kingdom
Format: FLAC, tracks (cue)
Size: 399 Mb

1. The Void. 12:36
2. Incessant Creakings of Invisible Gallows. 6:06
3. Doppleganger. 14:47
4. Triton Gnast. 13:18
5. POW! 15:54

Total Time: 62:40

released 26 July 2012 
All music by Lapis Lazuli 
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Neil Sullivan 
Produced by Neil Sullivan and Lapis Lazuli

This British sextet is a hard act to nail down. Just when you think you know where thy are going, there’s a completely unpredicted twist in the plot and they go off in another direction, leaving you scratching your head. These are the band’s debut releases – they had so much material recorded that they released both of these simultaneously. Extended Play is not an EP, in fact with four songs clocking in at 68 minutes total, it’s the longer of the two, while the companion release Reality Is contains five cuts at just over an hour. With a style that’s pretty much all over the map, one can hear elements of jazz, funk, prog rock, and all points in between, flavored with varied doses of jam-band, neo-psych, post-rock, Euro-folk, klezmer, Caribbean, Afrobeat, and a whole lot more, all coming together in an interesting and potent collision that defies any convenient descriptives or comparisons. The band features two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer, plus one member who plays sax and doubles on accordion, and a sixth member who handles vocals and covers trumpet, keyboards, congas, timbales and other exotic percussion. Theirs is mainly an all-instrumental attack, with vocals playing a very minor role in the sound overall (and pretty much confined to Extended Play). At times they might seem to be treading on the fringes of chaos, much like Starless period Crimson might do, but they are definitely in control and driving it hard, with lengthy wandering compositional epics and an abundance of adventurous rhythmic textures to be found everywhere. There’s plenty of compelling music here to hold the open-minded listener’s interest and imagination.
There are a dozen ways to describe Lapis Lazuli, ranging from 'weird blue stone' to 'jammy psychedelic jazz-funk'. Lapis Lazuli, the jammy psychedelic jazz-funk band from Canterbury, tend to lean towards the latter. Simultaneously releasing two debut albums, both on the longer side of an hour, you can already get an idea of how they sound. They don't do three-minute pop songs.
Jammy, it is. Ostensibly mainly composed, the shortest song between their two debut albums, 'Reality Is' and the appropriately titled 'Extended Play', is six minutes, whilst the rest are all somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes. If you're looking forward to an epic narrative spread over these songs, you may be disappointed – Lapis is, for the most part, instrumental, with just a few subdued vocals to add an extra layer to their sound.
Not that their sound could be criticised for being same-y. There is a guitar and a bass, and a drum kit. Then there is a saxophone, flutes, pipes, congas, and all manner of other instruments for flavour. It sometimes borders on sounding busy, but mostly, it'll just be one or two of these extra instruments at once, with the guitars and brass leading the melody.
Every part is pulled off with flourish – all of the instruments tend to blend together, but if you listen hard enough, you'll pick up some very flashy guitar moments, some fleetingly catchy sax lines, and some very slick percussion – keep an ear out for the drummer, and you'll quickly work out why. There's no doubt that the musicians behind their instruments are good at what they do. Some of the composition may be a little long-winded, but the individual pieces of the whole cannot be knocked.
There are a thousand and one interesting musical ideas spread over the two albums. However, the drawback of twenty minute instrumentals is that, for the life of me, I couldn't recall any of them if I tried. The result of that is music that is great to listen to, but difficult to commit to. Instead of memorable songs, Lapis yields memorable moments – somewhere on the busy side of Reality Is, there's suddenly a very quiet, doomy build up of weirdness, until you suddenly realise that the music has slipped back in and your coffee has long since gone cold because you've been too busy trying to work out if that's an accordion or another one of the many strange instruments the band uses. Turns out I'm talking about 'Doppelganger', but I only worked that out when trying to find the moment later on.
Laid-back, slower moments like these are somewhat scarce throughout the rest of the two CDs. Even when the band are playing slowly, there's always something going interesting going on, musically, be it an odd rhythm or a backwards-sounding melody. This can get tiring if you're focusing solely on the music, but when drifting in and out, as psychedelia fans are prone to, the songs are distilled to two-minute cross-sections. From there, you can work out whether they're performing in an alien samba bar, or are documenting an underwater war between Frank Zappa and Pat Metheny.
Though there are a few clear influences to Lapis Lazuli, the musical ideas fight so much for space that it sometimes becomes hard to pin them down. There's plenty of jazz to go around, but prog hints are rife, nodding mainly to King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Every now and then, the band will do something that could well be orchestral, if not for the more concise instrumentation (hah!). Classical it is not, but the feeling is there, somewhere.
If I now ran through every song then not only would I probably have missed the point, but I'd be pretending I could hear any one of them and recognise it from the others. Reality Is and Extended Play are not a far cry from each other – both of them flit through jazz-salsa through to space-rock-fusion on a whim, and the musicianship and production of both is way up there. The only trouble with Lapis Lazuli is trying to listen to them. That may come off as critical, but both Reality Is and Extended Play are great records to have on, rather than records you can sit and listen to.
Or maybe it takes just a little more patience. If you need something more straight forward, then you might want to skip over Lapis Lazuli, but fans of sustained jamming will agree that if you put the work into them, Reality Is and Extended Play add up to two good albums. Lapis Lazuli, or 'sky stone' to their friends, take the long, winding road, but if you can find it, the end product is worth the journey.
Adam Brodigan, Cameron Dawson, Dave Brittan, Dan Lander, Neil Sullivan, and Phil Holmes are Lapis Lazuli. If you want to find out more about the band, visit their website at www.lapislazuliband.co.uk, or their facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Lapislazulitheband. If you want a better idea of what they sound like, then check out the music from their website, or their Youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/LapisLazulivideo.

3 комментария

Stepan Спам
02.05.2014 в 16:32 | материал
очень странная в плане жанра музыка)
как вы их эти все эксперименты, находите??
vp_1974 Спам
02.05.2014 в 16:34 | материал
В основном через bandcamp - тупо включаю на работе и все подряд слушаю! Что нравится потом или покупаю там же или если есть на халяву то нахожу в сети, а мусор отсеиваю! Удобно!
Жих Спам
02.05.2014 в 22:38 | материал
Интересный альбом! Непростой, с насыщенным саундом. Фолко-этнических моментов хоть и немного, но они очень к месту.

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