Isildurs Bane & Peter Hammill – In Disequilibrium – A first listen to the new album…
Whatever is actually coming up next will be a vital distraction and well, it really is all topsy turvy out there, it really is all topsy turvy and all over the shop and who knows what we were thinking? Kitchen sink right at the wall, back in the action, here we go, fire it up, a first listen. Well not quite, the opening track of this freshly arrived this very morning new album has been out there for a few days already. A first listen beyond the first few minutes and put it all in balance. Yes, I’m sure we can take some more and this new album feels like it has come around rather quickly, especially with all the recent solo Peter Hammill action and the Van Der Graaf activity and well, bring it all on
– Extraordinary times call for extraordinary music. Sweden’s leading chamber rock ensemble, Isildurs Bane, and the legendary Van Der Graaf Generator vocalist and composer, Peter Hammill, has joined forces once again and have risen to that challenge
– we’re beyond that first track now, well further into it, it isn’t really a first track, more the first part of one complete piece work – the final dice, here we go, yes? Here we go? Hey look, you know the score, I’m a frothing fan, Peter Hammill could be singing the phone book and we’d love it around here, and you know already (rather predictably) that we’re going to say this is excellent (can we just say there’s lots of bits that sound rather Cardiacs-like in the best possible way?).
Oh look, just forget it, just forget it, just forget… and there is a chance we’ll get back on track, around and around we go, and yes, a slice of raven being held in and this is a genuine first listen and reaction, well a third listen and first reaction now as I try to make sense of what I did actually write first time around a couple of hours ago. I’ve read nothing about this new album, I’ve not looked at tracklist or the press release or names of songs and there’s no chorography and so far it is all running as one big exciting whole, one big fat epic track, one very bold piece of work, a proper full-on prog-as-flip (concept) album and the dance of the tarantella to the end and yes yes yes, kitchen sink and everything.
This is a busy busy piece of beautifully detailed work, and hold on to your dreams for just as long as you can.
And bits that sound like more recent Rush and Cardiacs (and Sea Nymphs) and cleanerside of 80’s King Crimson and Zappa’s exoticness, Isildurs Bane are on top form here, chamber music or something beyond – this is exciting, this sounds effortlessly good (which of course it isn’t), this is a thrillride and and oh that bit there – that bit seventeen minutes in just before whatever happens is true, that bit there is just so so beautiful, so uplifting. and and yes I know, frothing like a whatever the hell but this is what music can do and this album sounds massive. It really is a big big sound, proper ambition and kitchen sink, a very big thing and we’re surely gonna see it through and my happiness depends on you and this and all of these twenty one and a bit minutes have just been so so right.
I have so many questions to ask them about how it all came together and came together so so well, about the process about the why and the wherefore of it all and at the same time I really don’t wantto know about any of the precess,just the result.
Oh music is good, the new new Peter Hammill album just landed, he’s really on a roll at the moment, so productive, he’s probably say he needs to be, that there is no time to waste. This album ahs completely put a stop to everything, no painting today, not until I get through this very first listen, oooooooooooooooooooh, listen to that bit!
I know, I shouldn’t say Peter Hammill album, this is a collaboration, this is really an Isildurs Bane album and they have crafted the music in such a gloriously grand manner, it is very much their crafted sound and yes it does sound a little strange to hear Hammill’s unmistakeable voice and way fronting such a full bodied technically crisp modern sounding clean cut band – no Van Der Graaf dirt here, no filthy sax or overheating Hammond through the heat and the warm smell of pained Lesley (or iF there is a Hammond in there it is very very clean, very very now). And crawling gently and is it me or does that bit sound like Stoneage Dinosaurs – yes, it is that beautiful – and whatever happens now it is true – there’s a pattern that were working through, step by step and in the moment – and it is hard not to cast a though in the direction of Cardiacs leader Tim Smith and if only he could have gone on like this – and even as you’re thinking those things it does tell you everything will be alright. There’s special things happening here.
Everything will work out fine, and don’t do as I do, don’t do as I say and you’ll find that space, it won’t be far away. and every tale has a twist and history works like this. The two parties do sound so right for each other, they do sound like they bring out the best in each other, though I don’t know quite how and I don’t want to try and work it out and analyse it, I just want to enjoy it, bask in it, glory in it, take it easy, locking arms. This is special and I won’t care to do this twice, I don’t want to properly review it, or have to think about any of it, I don’t want to be the critic, I just want to react here.
Glowing gently, glowing gently into that dark night, down the tunnel and into the light, well yes, you do, and as always with new Peter Hammill work, listen to every word and decode the bits that may sometimes sound obvious when they’re obviously not.
Thirty four minutes into this one piece of work now, one whole piece, and well look, I’m a frothing fan, I’d be very hard pushed to find fault in anything he’s ever done, all those albums, the massive body of work that just keeps on giving every time to you go back into it, the grand Van Der Graaf catalogue, the input from Rikki Nadir, the K band and the post punk new wave work, the headband days, the more recent work of the returned Van Der Graaf Generator, I find no fault in any of it and so really I shouldn’t be the one coming at you with all this. And it is ridiculous that he should still be as productive and so vitally so in 2021, how old is he now? It only seems like weeks since that solo excellent album and yes I’m being very disrespectful to Isildurs Bane now, it as much them, maybe even more so, I really would love to know more once I;ve basked in this a few more times
Got to the end, whooooooooooooosh, and can I say it end so well? I can either hit play again or remain in silence for a good few hours, can’t put anything else on and if I was doing this properly I’d get out the previous album the two parties made together and compare, my feeling (after two listens now) is this one is even bigger, like the two parties have understood each other a little more and accommodated each other, just a little more hand in glove maybe, a little more than just more of the same. And it all ends so well as well, can I say that? Is to say that to misunderstand it? Hope for the new world? Tomorrow? A better day? What was that final bit of sound?
Managed to last almost an hour before I hit play again. Listen to the whole thing twice now, it is pushing a number of emotional buttons like good music should, it sounds wonderful, of course it does, it sounds very very (very) big, bursting at the seems, but there is space in there, there are times when less is so much more and it does breathe so well. it is well paced, and yes, It does sound like a classic progressive rock album is all senses of the (ridiculous) term, it does sound like it maybe it will be an album that doesn’t need to be overplayed, a treat, a very significant piece of work, one continuous piece of work, around 45 minutes of something rather special, something very emotional. (sw)
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary music. Sweden’s leading chamber rock ensemble, Isildurs Bane, and the legendary Van Der Graaf Generator vocalist and composer, Peter Hammill, has joined forces once again and have risen to that challenge.In Disequilibrium consists of two contrasting suites that flow with surging melodic themes, sinuous guitar, intricate arrangements for mallet instruments, graceful woodwind, sumptuous orchestral detailing, organic textures, and bracing rhythmic counterpoints.In fact, everything you would expect from one of the leading Scandinavian progressive rock chamber ensembles that effortlessly mixes tightly composed pieces with supple, free-ranging virtuosity.
The album is released on September 24th 2021 (more details underneath the video)
There was a press release, I did;nt read it until the first listen piece had been written,, so click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show and read it all
Previously on these pages