Sometimes, I receive albums, and the bands want a review stat; as soon as possible. I appreciate it, though, when a band like Greece’s Gravitysays_i sends me their new album, “Quantum Unknown”, many months in advance. I’m able to plan the review and to absorb the music. Gravitysays_i produces the type of music that you will want to soak in to every pore in your body. It’s like a palette cleanser for all the metal and prog rock I hear, and it’s just as interesting and just as progressive as anything else out there.
Gravitysays_i is a mysterious group. They play a sort of eerie, illustrious prog that isn’t quite rock music. Their music contains electronic tones, trumpets, and santurs, in addition to the normal progressive line-up of instruments. The closest association I can make would be Dead Can Dance because of the slow pace and heavy ambiance, but the electronic style here is nostalgically similar to Vangelis, which is a huge plus. Additionally, the vocal style does remind me of Brendan Perry of DCD; not in tone, but rather in the backwards stylings and haunting vocal lines.
The band consists of Manos Paterakis (vocals, santur, guitar), Nikos Retsos (drums, synths), Mampre Kasardjian (bass), Nikos Sotiropoulos (guitar), Costas Stergiou (keyboards), and Vangelis Κatsarelis (trumpet). “Quantum Unknown”, however, is one of those albums that does not feel like a boisterous collection of instruments; but, rather, a beautiful symphony of sounds that mesh and combine to where the individual instruments are less important than the whole. Indeed, the point to the music does not seem to be technicality or even strictly melody: The point is the texture and atmosphere that ooze out of the various instruments and vocal inflections. Manos’ vocals are super clean and smooth as butter.
This album is awash in gorgeous, warm electronic tones and bubbling, jazzy trumpet that really set this music apart from many other bands. Vangelis’ trumpet is surprisingly prominent in the music, often leading the primary melodies. Guitars from Manos and Nikos range from post-rock stylings to the high tuned guitar work of bands like Riverside. Ultimately, this album feels very amber and soothing; very warm and relaxing, with a pinch of folkish oddity and a whole lot of class. When I say “folkish oddity”, I’m referring to the obvious Middle Eastern vibe present in the album, but everything feels a bit mysterious and shaded, in a good and satisfying way.
Thus far, my favorites are “More Than A Matter of Instinct” and “Every Man”, with my favorite of all being the title track, “Quantum Unknown (Riveted Eye)”, as it is a stunning mix of electronics and high tuned guitar work that both build to a fantastic, emotional climax, with some mild meandering. All of the tracks on this album, though, feel wonderful and gel in a most artistic fashion. This album really does have something that many of the most high profile releases this year do not have: character and personality.
So, Gravitysays_i has a real gem here of fantastic atmosphere, haunting rhythms, and electronic excellence. It comes across as a bit odd and eccentric at times, but that is exactly what I have been craving lately. You know, for some reason, when I listen to this album I get images of Jim Henson films, such as The Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. I don’t think there is any real connection in style, but the oddity and haunting space really feel right for that style of film. Better yet, the band is releasing this album on LP, so I hope to get a copy, as that will sound so good. Take a look at Gravitysays_i!
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