Out of the monochrome zone, RIVERSIDE bassist goes out on a limb.
Rocking the prog cradle with his main band, Mariusz Duda has been intimately sleepwalking since 2008, when he unveiled this project. Its opening cycle was the trilogy of albums bearing a black, white and, formed from their outtakes, grey mood, but now there’s a new nocturnal agenda where no real guitars are allowed and studio trickery weaves magic. Claustrophobia doesn’t set in, though, because the listener’s never alone among the shards of lyrical phrases, sounds and images which increasingly fill the space from “Shutting Out The Sun” to the slightly strangulating finale of the title piece.
For all the sparseness of synth waves, four-string throb and spectral percussion create a tension that hushed vocals – whispers reflecting the voice in many a spot – can’t resolve, but such an intangible presence turns the transparent “Cold” inside out and endows its crackling alienation with a warm, drone-stoked glow. In their turn, multi-layered, riffs-rattling epic “Pygmalion’s Ladder” and “Gutter” get hot with Eastern patterns, yet the track’s soulful flow feels freezing even when a dance groove floats to the surface, while the slow polyrhythmic step and ukulele strum of “The Fear Within” hold a ghostly threat, rendered eerier by a piano line. The ivories and drums bulge for a rather straightforward, if gloomy, pop in “Treehouse”; still, the overall impression is one of a fickle, flickering pathway into one’s inner world.
Proceed carefully – and you’re for a treat; hurry up – and the elusive majesty will vanish. The choice is yours to make.