ERIC G. Three Ancestors (2020)
Updated: Apr 24
“It took me a few listening times to adjust to the different levels of this album whose charms maybe it's best enemy”
1 Lost Day 11:42
2 Sweeping Through a Blue Mess of Modes 6:26
3 Three Ancestors Looking for the Rain 10:32
4 Gravitized Earlobes 4:24
5 Desultory on Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 5 19:01
6 Window Karma 8:48
(DDL 60:55) (V.F.)
(Progressive EM, Berlin School)
I can easily imagine Eric G. living in a big castle in Sweden, so much the musician seems to have immense vaults which hide all his recording sessions that have never been released. THREE ANCESTORS is yet another recording coming from those vaults and this time it features guitarist Mats Fagergren. Like Eric writes on his Bandcamp it's a re-recording from a tape made in 1983. At a time when EM beats to the beat of MIDI and synthesizers plugged to various sound sources, the famous plug-ins, THREE ANCESTORS sounds like Genesis in the masterful Selling England by the Pond merging with the cosmic music of Michael Garrison. Despite everything, there are some good moments in this recording which at times is just too invaded by a mellotron which divides rather well its lunar odes, its fluty airs and its ancestral haze in an album which hardly accumulates more ups than downs.
It is besides with the sounds of this guitar crumbling its strings in the cosmic garden of the American synthesist that Lost Day, which is very representative of its title, accosts my ears. The sound is indeed old and Neil Peart's bells are not correcting the situation. Anyway, the moans of the synth give a prismatic tone to the harmonies which remind me of good Italian progressive music, like in A Ghost by Premiata Forneria Marconi. A bass line begins to tremble in my ears, at the same time as effects of water are bubbling. Its course is in Space Rock mode, in particular because of the cosmic chants of the synth. This bass makes the oscillatory rhythm of Lost Day run before the percussions bring it back into a structure which immediately makes me think of good Thierry Fervant in Univers and its title La Round de Nuit. From ambient-cosmic to cosmic rock and finally progressive electronic rock, spiced with old guitar solos of which the elderly tones are getting saved by good and recent synth solos, Lost Day keeps on travelling as far as Pink Floyd, in Wish You Were Here, and Jean-Michel Jarre, in Oxygen, have been. It's old and it can be listening to pretty well 😊. If you are comfortable with that, you will have a good time, if not ... It is with solos accompanying these wiishh which sweep the cosmic ice floes that Sweeping Through a Blue Mess of Modes emerges from the silence. Its approach is transposed with a fluid rhythm which is complicit in lunar synth solos and odes of Mellotron blowing in an arabesque flute. Let's say there is some scents of Tangram behind this title. Three Ancestors Looking for the Rain made me jump with its violent overture composed of electronic tones, like video games, which make passionate jolts. The synth and its solos end up making themselves heard more over a course that reaches two minutes of sonic anguish. The creeping and vampiric bass line, as well as the electronic percussions, slow down the pace for a lento cosmic rock filled with solos whose analog tones seem very realistic. Here again, Eric G's quality as a composer is beyond doubt when he brings this bucolic track to several ponds to make the music drinks from the different tones of vintage electronic rock, always dominated by beautiful and good synth solos.
Gravitized Earlobes draws us into an ambient and cosmic blues, like Camel, with a dominant guitar in front of a wall of variegated electronic tones. Desultory on Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 5 (what a title!) is a long title of about 20 minutes which begins with a flute from the mellotron which is blending with a Teutonic Berliner movement from the sequencer. This ascending rhythm, which moves on in bumps, escorts the mellotron to its flight towards a cosmic rock pushed by tssitt-tssitt of unconvincing cymbals. Until now, the flute dominates the cosmic essences much more than synth solos, I no longer hear the guitar, in a fairly minimalist role of a sequencer which manages, with difficulty and misery, to reorient the rhythm by adding to it anemic jolts. The 12 minutes' bridge saves the day to Desultory on Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 5 which puts on the table a more daring rhythm, and more modern compared to the rest of the album, which gives us an excellent 8 minutes of a real electronic phase, so much at the level of the sequencer than of the synthesizer. Window Karma is quite fascinating! First of all, my ears are struggling to differentiate the elements that make up its line of sequenced riffs. The flow is sharp and accurate! Its tone too is more modern too. The sound of guitar riffs and of sequencer's keys stands out a bit later on this line of linear and spasmodic rhythm. A line which is also interrupted by ambient passages where samplings of voices and of surrounding noises that Jean-Michel Jarre exploited in Magnetic Fields flood my ears which wonder about the real era of Window Karma.
It took me a few listening times to adjust to the different levels of the THREE ANCESTORS universe. If sometimes its lack of homogeneity makes its nest of charms, at times the step may be high between two exchanges of eras, such as themes or tones. But overall, it's a good album. Not the best of Eric G., but there are some good times here.
Sylvain Lupari (January 16th, 2021) ***¼**
Available at Eric G. Bandcamp