Rolling rhyme into reason, Slovakian six-stringer sets sentences in motion.
Always on the lookout for some fresh form, David Kollar must have found the Covid-related lockdown a sort of a new experience, rather than an enforced limitation of his restless nature, so it’s a little surprise that the guitarist – known to many as Steven Wilson‘s sidekick but perceiving prog as just one of multiple stylistic aspects of his craft – came up with two records. Varied and deceptively small in scope yet immensely deep, these concept works make a perfect pair, even though “Crime On The Bunny” is presented as a bonus to “10 Poems For Ronroco”: a musical reading of Valerij Kupka’s oeuvre – lovingly printed in the album’s booklet and turned into instrumental pieces to be played on charango.
However, while Kupka’s verses dictate the overall mood of a melody, it’s Kollar’s understanding of his words that directs a particular track’s flow. As a result, the indecisiveness and expectancy of opener “To Stand On The Shore Waiting For The Tide” are more than palpable, with acoustic strings twanging sparsely yet assertively against the barely-there background ebb, whereas the finale of “A Divine Beam Descended On The Earth” is given an aquarelle treatment, as Erik Truffaz’s trumpet floats above the sighs-filled gloom. There’s circularity to this record, but if the baroque licks in “Tears Are Running Down A Tree” reveal a tense undercurrent, especially once cello-like electric charges emerge from a dewdrop filigree to loom larger and larger, “And The Tears Stiffened” offer a translucent delight to replace grief and rise off the ground to meet “Somewhere Out There” in its dynamically expansive glory.
Still, Kollar’s not afraid to read between the lines and introduce a new perspective to the flow, adding a slowed-down Spaghetti Western nostalgia to “A Morning Was Being Born Of The Night” by weaving faux harmonica through the crystalline strum. Improvised or otherwise, these numbers arrive devoid of abstract thinking, so the pseudo-orchestral waves of flamenco-tinctured serenade which is “Somewhere In The Moonlit” bring on a pregnant romanticism before a couple of brief sketches take the load away and, further down the road, “The Sky Painted All Over With Yellow Colours” lifts the leaden lid on tentative hope to leave those lending their ears to David’s music enlightened.
Yet the ethereal delicacy of “Poems” doesn’t prepare the listener for the immersive contrast of its companion “Crime” whose heavy-metal-tinted title track would inform the space with a ten-minute punkesque skronk – which feels like an amphetamine-fueled sonic assault on every pour of a person’s psyche – if its Pat Mastelotto-propelled serrated punch wasn’t softened by bursts of more solemn noise and cosmic coda as well as the record’s nigh-on-hour finale “The Sound Behind The House” that consists of naturally enchanting birds chirps. Squeezed between these two extremes are two takes on “Coronomorphia”: a sign of the times where discordant strings seem to be sculpting a certain Rimsky-Korsakov tune only to fail in spectacularly triumphant fashion and switch to raga instead.
It’s a thought-provoking pair of albums which will require a few spins to fully grasp everything that’s going on there, but the eventual rapture is worth the effort.
***** / ****