Thursday, April 14, 2016

Jazz/Fusion/Progressive Review: Armonite-The Sun Is New Each Day

Release Date: 22nd June 2015
Label:  Independent
Website
Armonite is an Italian band which generated a big problem for this reviewer in that it was very difficult to properly describe their style. The band originally combined rock and classical music with an instrument line-up that boasted 2 electric violins, keyboards, bass and drums, or at least that was true of the debut release in 1999, Inuit. If we then jump forward to 2015, one of the violinists and the main composer of the music formed a “new” band with the same name. The addition of a drummer and a bass player resulted in the release of the album under consideration in this review, The Sun Is New Each Day, with a more “normal” band line-up. The music has continued to use the classical violin work from the debut release and probably is best held up alongside the jazz fusion genres.

Armonite is a 4 piece band comprising Jacopo Bigi (electric violin), Paolo Fosso (keyboards) Colin Edwin (bass) and Jasper Barendregt (drums) with Colin probably better known, I would think, for his bass playing with Porcupine Tree. There are also 2 guests appearing on the album, Anders “GoTo80” Carlsson (8-bit sounds) and Marcello Rosa (cello).

The Sun Is New Each Day is a 10 track album with a total playing time of around 34 minutes, which is not particularly lengthy and merits being referred to as an EP. All the tracks are of similar length with track 7, “Die Grauen Herren” (The Gray Man), the shortest, with a running time of 2:47 minutes and track 6, “Satellites,” the longest at 3:47 minutes.

The opening track on The Sun Is New Each Day, “Suitcase War” (3:45) jumps out of the speakers from the word “Go” and is led by the superb electric violin playing of Jacopo, ably supported by the other musicians. After the hectic start to the track, and although the track flows well, it never maintained that early promise and at best is satisfactory. At times I could hear similarities to Darryl Way with the manner in which the violin was used. There is a change of style around the 2:20 minute mark which picks up the interest again, but the track never really takes off.
“Sandstorm” (3:44) certainly has a very Eastern feel to it and you could close your eyes and imagine being in the Casbah. Although a different sounding track it still fails to grab your attention properly, despite the skills of the musicians.

“Satellites” (3:47), I found more interesting due to the myriad of changes that the track progresses through. A track that does “grab your ears” and makes you listen.

The final track on the album, The Sun Is New Each Day, “Bastian’s Happy Flight” (3:17) is a driving track that has bite to it and is my favorite track of the album. For once there is a great bit of interplay between the keyboards and the violin and it is, following what has gone before, unexpectedly good, but short.

I found that the album, The Sun Is New Each Day, was a difficult album to really get into. Individually, some of the 10 tracks do grab the interest of this reviewer, but listening to the album through, the good material gets muddied by the more average material and ultimately the feeling I was left with was disappointment. I feel that too many tracks simply lacked a memorable riff or unforgettable hook and it led to the tracks being somewhat indistinguishable from each other.

The musicians are skilled and the idea for the album was sound, but somewhere along the line “the train came off the rails” as they say. I will definitely dip into this album from time to time, but that is all.

As ever, this is a personal view on this album and I would urge you to get a listen to Armonite and you may disagree with me and feel that The Sun Is New Each Day is a worthy addition to your collection.

3.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Sandstorm, Satellites, Bastian’s Happy Flight

Tracks:
01.  Suitcase War
02.  Connect Four
03.  “G” as In Gears
04.  Sandstorm
05.  Slippery Slope
06.  Satellites
07.  Die Grauen Herren
08.  Le Temps qui fait ta Rose
09.  Insert Coin
10.  Bastian’s Happy Flight



Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
April 14, 2016
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk
 


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