Gazpacho - 'Molok'

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Gazpacho - 'Molok'

Warmly recommended to those of you who like their Prog to reveal its charms and qualities over time.

Nine albums in twelve years is not bad going from this Norwegian band and they have been steadily building a strong reputation over this period. This exquisitely performed and presented album (as a digi-book) only serves to enhance their reputation further.

'Molok' is a comfortable forty-five minute record, one that is conceptual in nature so that it is not an album that encourages one to listen by dipping in and out but is rather one where a holistic approach (and repeated hearings to completely digest the often complex and quite haunting material presented) will pay dividends.

While piano passages are prominent along with extensive percussive sections, the sextet has been joined by five guest musicians provide a fascinating array of additional instrumentation. I must specifically mention Gjermund Kolltveit who has contributed his reconstruction of stone-age instruments to album closer 'Molok Rising'. This lengthy track (of nearly ten minutes' duration) comes across as somewhat tangential musically from the rest of the album, which otherwise has a certain cohesiveness consequent upon a recurring underlying theme to several of the songs, and particularly 'Park Bench', 'The Master's Voice' and the utterly exquisite 'Choir Of Ancestors' that has become one of my favourites of 2015.

Jan Henrick Ohme's voice may be considered something of an acquired taste, rarely encompassing the truly emotive – and yet, in conjunction with the carefully woven instrumentation and occasional use of the heavenly, multi-tracked choral backing vocals of Marianne Pentha, they come across as very effective within the context of the overall album and just the one track, the rather surreal 'Algorithm', dispenses with vocals altogether (note that I have not described this as an "instrumental" track!)

I mentioned above that this is a conceptual work and across the album there are religious themes going head to head with modern day new scientific ideas and theories. It's a heady brew and just ever so slightly bonkers from where I sit, so much preferring to be stirred by what I hear rather than dwell on this underlying hokum!

If you are a keen student of the Steven Wilson school of Prog, then 'Molok' will surely fit into your syllabus perfectly. It's an engaging album that insinuates itself into the consciousness with successive listens, and although it can be a little bleak at times, for me it has become an absolute winner.

'Molok' comes warmly recommended to those of you who like their Prog to reveal its charms and qualities over time.

Paul Jerome Smith

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