‘The Blue Hour’ Review: RockWay
22nd August 2012
When you know some things about how an artist behaves, you are hardly surprised. But when that artist isn’t the most predictable and simple case, then two things can possibly happen. You either wait for an album that will fail, or can catch yourself saying “Yes! That is a marvellous album!” (and all that applies to the third album, which the majority of fans claim to be the most crucial during the career of a band or an artist).
“The Blue Hour” is here and RHYS MARSH is at his best, with an album filled with melodies, a step before Fall, and surprising us positively with his music, because to be honest I was much afraid for a repetition of his old records. So, when the first sounds entered my ears, I perceived the new, the fresh, and I enjoyed the acoustics. Whatever you might have known from “The Fragile State Of Inbetween” and “Dulcima”, 2008 and 2009 respectively, with the totally heavy atmosphere and the emphasis on the string instruments, they just belong there.
The change, the new and the different will make you want to listen to it again and again. You won’t realise how quickly time will pass, because it’s simply not boring — each piece has its own colour, and the diversity of the musicians and instruments is quite magnificent. Really, when did you last time hear a 9.40’ piece and didn’t feel a little uncomfortable due to a tiring exaggeration? Yet here, “One More Moment” is simply a masterpiece. The string instruments have almost disappeared. The wind instruments have taken the lead role and the drums make me truly fly back in time (musically, of course) to ambiences of the 60s and 70s, and to the uniqueness of KING CRIMSON. The influences are so profound that you think you can almost hear Michael Giles at times, winking at you as he performs his magic. Modern Norwegian music is here to give its best under the eye of RHYS MARSH, for the first time an album with a Norwegian line-up, borrowing musicians from bands such as Jaga Jazzist, The National Bank, Emmerhoff And The Melancholy Babies & Pelbo, and also having a cooperation with Susanne Sundfør, Kaizers Orchestra & Magnet.
The one thing that you will realise quickly and easily in this album, but also admire, is the comfort in which everything moves amidst ultimate jazz rhythms, beautiful mid-tempo melodies — atmospheric and dark just enough not to bring you down, double vocals – male/female – that sweeten the performance, as in “And I Wait” and “Broken Light”. “Wooden Heart” is somewhat more progressive and faster, while slower with a Renaissance culture touch (1.30’ before the end… truly a masterpiece!) is “Further From The Truth”, while an instrumental in between, “The Movements Of Our Last Farewell”, startles you in joy. With the ultimate slow harmony, “One More Moment” closes the album, which, as I already said, is the longest piece, where wind instruments and drums compete with their mentors.
With a registered genre as Melodramatic Popular Song, this time the dark moments have turned into blue times and we (that belong to the genre), but also you that want something different, more satisfied than ever, can add another masterpiece to our collection from the already breezy North. Be well Rhys.