Tag Archives: Kscope

Giancarlo Erra’s Adagio

Erra’s first solo album, ENDS (Kscope, 2019)

Crazily enough, Apple’s iTunes gave me the choice to categorize Giancarlo Erra’s latest album, ENDS, as either “new age” or classical.  I had no idea that “new age” was still a category or a genre or a label or anything less than a slur when still employed. The whole process of choosing this reminded me of how much I despise labels—for people or for music.

There’s really only one proper description for Erra’s album, ENDS: art. Best known for his rather ethereal and spacy art rock band (oh, those labels again!), Nosound, ENDS is Erra’s first solo album. Eight songs long, the album feels most like a wordless song-cycle, a meandering and a deepening and a widening of several achingly gorgeous melodies. There’s certainly nothing resembling rock—of any variety—on this album, but the various keyboards and deeper strings bring the listener very close to the music of the spheres, with elements of Henryk Gorecki and Mark Hollis informing but not shaping Erra’s creation.

Even the very titles of the eight songs–III, II, I, VII, V, IV, VI, Coda—seemingly offer us nothing in the way of personality. 

And, yet, ENDS is nothing but personality, beautiful and wide and deep—we are shown the very soul the artist. Not in an egotistical way, but in a perfectly humane way.

Above, I mentioned Gorecki and Hollis, but the more I listen to this glorious album, I feel as though I’m dwelling one of Bach’s adagios.

Best prog rock of 2018

Top albums of 2018

Well, stunningly, it’s that time of year—the time we begin to assess the best of that which came throughout the year.  At age 51, these years fly by, faster and faster.  Time devours, but individuals innovate.  2018 has been a rather spectacular year, at least on a personal level.  In very large part, the creative soundtrack behind the year’s events proved equally spectacular.

Here are my favorite albums of 2018.

10. Galahad, Seas of Change. Stu and company nail it with this album. At once deeply progressive musically and timely politically, Galahad strike the perfect balance of art and message on this wondrous 43-minute long album (and song!). The message never becomes oppressively preachy, itself being fully integrated with the music. 

9. Bjorn Riis, Coming Home. This is the only EP to make it to my top 10 of 2018. Only 27 minutes long, Riis’s Coming Home offers more depth in music and thought than most albums can at 50 to 70 minutes. A perfectionist and a minimalist, Riis offers just enough to keep us eager for me.  As with his work on Airbag, Riis provides a lush soundscape of tundra, doted here and there with evergreens.

8. Shineback, Dial. I don’t think it’s constitutionally possible for any of the Godfrey musicians to be uninteresting. Despite having moved from the U.K. to the Philadelphia, Simon Godfrey retains all of the romantic best of the motherland. Electronic flourishes, Thomas Dolby rhythms, pop melodies, progressive and extended passages, and Godfrey’s always anxious and surreal lyrics pull the listener in, from the opening minute to the closing minute—92 minutes later!  A feast of creepiness and introspection.  Every time I listen, I realize I’m only getting about 70% of what’s going on.  This is music for headphones, to be sure.

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