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lunes, 6 de febrero de 2017

Thork - Wê-ila (2004)


Una desconocida joya musical que forma parte de un rompecabezar mayor que catalogo como de lo mejor que tenemos en el blog cabezón. Otra banda francesa, de muy buena calidad y casi desconocida, y con caracterìsticas personales en su música caracterizada por la unión de varios colores; un mix de música céltica, folk de todos lados del mundo, influencias electrónicas, metal, prog rock, para crear un marvilloso dark folk progresivo que te va a quemar la cabeza. Una música oscura e inquietante que atrapa la imaginación en las oscuras y ambiguas profundidades del alma. Música excelsa y con tremendas atmósferas que sirven para adentrarnos en su esotérico universo, un alucinante trabajo que forma una estructura junto con las propuestas de sus bandas hermanas: los fabulosos Syrinx y Nil (quienes vengan siguiendo al blog cabezón desde hace tiempo seguro recuerdan a estas bandas que están entre lo más selecto de este selecto blog) y ahora cerramos el círculo abierto hace tiempo. Esto no es másica fácil, pero una vez que le encuentres la onda y te atrape, no te va a soltar en tu vida... Bienvenidos a la catacumba, un fabuloso, oscuro y gótico rito pagano en formato de música excelsa.

Artista: Thork
Álbum: Wê-ila
Año: 2004
Género: Prog folk ecléctico
Duración: 66:30
Nacionalidad: Francia


Lista de Temas:
1. L'origine
2. Délectable ennui
3. Errance
4. Ea
5. Errances
6. Danse de la terre
7. Immanence

Alineación:
- Michel Lebeau / drums
- Sébastien Fillion / synths, piano, Fender Rhodes, programming
- Claire Northey / violin
- David Maurin / flute, guitar
- Samuel Maurin / bass, Chapman stick, synths, vocals
- Sébastien Penel / vocals, choirs
Guests:
Antoine Aureche / acoustic guitar
Roselyne Berthet / vocals
Renaud Burdin / dununs, djembé, guira, cloches
Sébastien Lacroix / sitar
Stéphane Lagarde / tabla
Ian-Elfinn Rosiu / cello




Como primera medida, voy a comentar lo malo del disco, o quizás lo que hace que este disco no raye en la perfección: las voces podrían ser mejor, y la producción deja que desear. Pero más allá de ello, las composiciones de esta banda son maravillosas. Muy emparentados con los excelente grupos franceses
Nil y Syrinx que ya han roto muchas cabezas en este blog (y me di cuenta de ello porque salta a la vista en el sonido del bajo, tan característico de estos proyectos, y en las composiciones prodigiosas, metamórficas y cambiantes).
Me resulta bastante difícil encontrar información de la banda en la red pero puedo asegurarles que esto es una maravilla.
Este disco salió en consonancia con trabajos de las bandas
Nil y Syrinx, las tres bandas forman una poderosa trilogía emparentadas (pero no iguales) en el sonido y en la propuesta, una sólida propuesta unida por la calidad musical, la complejidad compositiva y los momentos de excelso despliegue emotivo con picos que te llevan al cielo de una patada en el culo. Esta trilogìa Syrinx, Nil y Thork tiene una fuerte consistencia porque comparten ciertas concepciones estéticas; sus similitudes no son sólo musicales (estilos oscuros, con complejidad académica puesta a disposiciòn de notables desarrollos muy melódicos), sino también gráficos (folletos muy trabajados) y conceptuales (en su gusto por lo esotérico). El papel fundamental de los hermanos Samuel Maurin (a cargo del bajo y sus derivados, y a quien reconozco perfectamente al escuchar alguna canción donde se aparezca) y David Maurin (guitarra, flauta y quien contribuye con notables composiciones) no es extraño ya que ambos participan en los tres proyectos, al igual que otros músicos (Benjamin Croizy participa en los teclados de las otras dos bandas, por ejemplo), aunque al parecer aquí primaba el liderazgo del tecladista Sébastien Fillion. Sin embargo no crean que están en presencia de tres variantes de un mismo enfoque artístico, ya que ello sería simplificar en exceso; cada uno de estos tres equipos de trabajo tienen su propia dirección musical, con fuertes y bien definidas identidades musicales. Así y todo no dejan de formar una sólida trilogìa, por lo que recomiendo escuchar a todas estas bandas como parte de una estructura.
Con composiciones llenas de gran riqueza temática y contrastes, con trémolos momentos que se alternan con otros de gran dinamismo en distintas capas cristalinas donde participan coros, orquestaciones, atmósferas, pasajes étnicos y muchas maravillas una al lado de la otra, unidas por un trabajo compositivo tremendo que logra la homogeneidad de cada componente. Claro que esto no es música para quienes no gusten de los constantes cambios repentinos, seguramente habrá gente que nunca logre adaptarse a ninguno de los trabajos de la oscura trilogía francesa, pero si vos estás leyendo estas líneas es porque seguramente estás buscando cosas fuera de lo convencional.

Las canciones que pueblan el disco no son para nada convencionales, ni aún para las rarezas que se pueden encontrar en nuestro espacio. "Wê-ila" es el segundo disco de la banda, donde ha tenido un cambio en su formación luego de su primer obra, llamada "Urdoxa" (que también traeremos al blog junto con su tercer y último trabajo, y para muchos el mejor, llamado "Nula Jedan") continúan la saga de composiciones retorcidas, completamente complejas y que despliegan un rito hipnotizante. El último álbum de Thork no tiene mucho que ver con el primero, y el sonido y los músicos han cambiado mucho. Sin embargo, la banda ha logrado mantener su alta calidad y propuesta por demás interesante. Lo único lamentable es que la mecánica de esta trilogía fabulosa se ha parado en algún momento y no ha vuelto a sacar más de estas maravillas notables, así que sólo nos queda disfrutar y deleitarnos hasta el éxtasis con los trabajos ya publicados, que garantizas horas, días, meses y años de majestuosas travesías por el laberinto de sus sonidos.

Los invito a adentrarse a un universo fascinante de fría y espeluznante belleza melódica. Si ya lo hicieron desde las puertas que abrieron Nil y Syrinx, los invido a deleitarse en su demencial mundo. Está claro que este universo no es para todo el mundo y que se necesita una gran dosis de valor para cruzarlo en la primera vez, y escuchar y escuchar el disco una y otra vez hasta encontrarle el gusto a su onda y estilo, pero una vez que te atrapa este arte excelso no te soltarà en tu vida. Se necesitan muchos escuchas atentass para captar su esencia, para navegar por sus infinitos detalles, para descubrir cada tesoro oculto, pero si los sonidos logran subyugarte este será un trabajo (y el de todos los discos de la oscura trilogía francesa) de horas y horas de infinito placer auditivo, emocional e intelectual.
En lo personal, debo confesar que estoy muy lejos de haber llegado al final de toda la travesía sugerida por esta trilogía (y me pregunto cuanto tiempo habrán requerido los músicos para hacer semejante hazaña manifista en cada uno de sus discos). Sin embargo, comprendo plenamente el potencial y la riqueza mientras disfruto al máximo de cada nueva exploración por cada uno de sus discos, que en el caso de Nil y Syrinx conozco de memoria pero aún así sigo descubriendo detalles en cada escucha. Así que a pesar del clima oscuro de la música, estoy realmente muy feliz de saber que todavía tengo mucho por descubrir.
Los invito a adentrarse en este laberinto frío y tenebroso para disfrutar de la mejor noche musical que se puedan imaginar.


The French seem to have a lock on dark symphonic prog these days (see Nil elsewhere this issue) – or maybe it’s just those two guys named Maurin (David on guitar and Samuel on bass and Stick), who feature in both bands. In any case, Thork is another modern take on what progressive might mean. Thork features a male vocalist, Sébastien Penel, and violinist, Claire Northey, for their distinct flavor. Penel is dramatic in the grand French tradition, though not as emphatic as Christian Décamps in Ange, and can be found whispering, singing, or screaming as the words demand, as well as being treated with effects devices. There are also moments of massed backing vocals (some courtesy of Nil’s Roselyne Berthet) that build to huge climaxes slightly reminiscent of Magma, though I wouldn’t stretch the comparison too far. Sébastien Fillion’s keyboards fill out the sound with a mixture of instruments including Rhodes and Clavinet as well as atmospheric string tones. A variety of guest musicians provide timbres from around the world for a bit of spice. In addition to passages of rock power, there are touches of strangeness, odd effects, noises, and atonality. The band mostly favors longer forms of multiple sections – in fact the seven tracks comprise two one-minute interludes and five pieces over the nine-minute mark, including a twenty-minute epic called “Ea” in the middle. All tracks are credited to the whole band except the two short guitar pieces. It’s an intoxicating mix of the strange and the familiar.
Jon Davis


THORK is a side project of the Maurin brothers from the band NIL. "Weila" is a little difficult to describe, almost gothic at times and dark most of the time. It's difficult to know what genre this should be in but most people wouldn't think of "Folk" when they hear it. Complex arrangments, as unusual sounds pop up including programming and unconventional instruments. A lot of intricate things going on that require not only your full attention but repeated listens in order to appreciate it.
The first song "L'origine" is like the temptress to lure you in to "Weila". It is symphonic, phenomenal and fascinating music. The French vocalist is extraordinory. He reminds me of some of the powerful Italian vocalists from the seventies. For me this song is worth the price of admission all by itself. It opens powerfully but sounds even better when it calms down. Vocals before a minute. It builds again to a powerful sound. Nice.The contrasts continue. The vocals are gothic when it settles again 5 minutes in. Some violin 9 1/2 minutes in. "D'ilectable Enniu" opens with some instrumental work before a dark and fairly heavy soundscape takes over. It changes before 2 minutes as percussion then violin comes in. It's darker again before 3 1/2 minutes as vocals join in. Some spoken vocals 6 minutes in followed by some eerie violin after 7 minutes. Just an incredible song ! "Errance" is a short track with guitar and vocals. The epic "Ea" at over 21 minutes long and it doesn't sound gothic it is gothic, from the vocals that speak, to the brooding undercurrent, to the sampling. Love the scorching guitar. There's even a Zeuhl vibe after 6 1/2 minutes with deep vocals. Great section. The guitar makes some noise 12 1/2 minutes in and it sounds incredible. Vocals are back before 18 minutes then the song starts to wind down.
"Errances" is another short piece and this time we get vocal melodies and lots of atmosphere. The vocals on "Danse De La Terrs" are done by NIL singer Roselyne, and done beautifully. I like the section after 2 minutes where the guitar plays and the drums pound away. It turns dark 4 1/2 minutes in then Roselyne adds her vocal melodies after 5 minutes. Great sound.She starts to sing and it sounds like the organ is pulsating slowly then drums come in at 8 minutes followed by guitar and a full sound. Nice. The guitar is fantastic ! He's ripping it up before 10 minutes. The song ends abruptly. The final tune is a highlight for me as well, from the scorching guitars, to the flute, spacey synths, violin and great vocals.This song is pure brilliance ! Especially the last few minutes.
An outlandish way to end this amazing record.
John Davie


Ha-ha, Prog Folk. Maybe Prog FOLKS? :)
Another discovery of this Spring – French Dark Symphonic Prog (with oriental and theatrical leanings) band with their phenomenal “Weila” album. They’ve mixed ANGLAGARD’s approach with TAAL’s diversity and GRAAF’s darkness. Some really folky stuff can be found here – mostly when violin and flute play – and avant bits are scattered here and there as well. Fortunately, this is very tasty mix, eclectic but enjoyable, with satisfaction guaranteed. Songwriting is strong, without unnecessary complexness – there’s nothing to add or improve here! What a shame most listeners aren’t familiar with it – just take a look how many reviews it has :( . This is a Must for every Progger, especially those who like Dark Side of Prog
Igor Sidorenko

The true experience of being thrown around in a sonic washing machine
I´ve been getting into the French prog scene of late. Always been into Magma and their cohorts, as well as a lot of the symphonic and avant garde music to come out of the country during the 70s and 80s. The scene was very broad and eclectic, and what I indeed thought was a thing of the past, has thoroughly been refuted the past half year. I came across the band Nil and the album Nil Novo sub Sole. This record smashed open the doors to modern French music for me. I got extremely intrigued, and fantasized about other albums exploring more of these, up till then, unexplored sonic venues to me.
Thork is actually a sister band to Nil. The Maurin brothers, David and Samuel, feature on both - with Samuel credited as a writer. The similarities are obvious between the bands, though the female vocals of Nil Novo, here are replaced with a male front singer, that gives you that distinguish French spice. Reminds me a bit of the guy in Ange, but more mellow and somber.
The music contained herein is moody, complex, relaxing and at times grandiose like a rhino dressed in black. You´ll find everything spanning from symphonic textures, zeuhl, metal, jazz fusion - to small snippets of folk. I guess the folk tag was given to these guys due to the other albums in their discography, because this album is frolicking in a wonderful orgy of all the mentioned genres above, and feels eclectic above anything else. It´s a natural symbiosis, that either through the use of melodic stick playing, grooving thundering zeuhl like bass lines - or that of the ethereal and anxious keys, binds this music together. On top of this, you have choirs popping up in a very dramatic way, and makes your mind wander to Gothic churches, vampires and back to a time where you´d go down to the bar and order absinthe with a tiny touch of ox blood, and people around you´d say: I´ll have what he´s having!
To counterpoint my own words, I guess you can find folk traces here as well. The usage of the violin on some tracks slightly mimics European traditional music, with a rather staccato and skewed sound, whilst still remaining those acoustic characteristics. There´s a load of other instruments involved in this recording like dununs, djembé, guira, cloches, sitar, tabla and the cello, where most of these are on full display during the last track, which incidentally also is my fave. The Thork experience is more subdued here, throwing itself into Indian flavored rhythmic excursions with a tiny dose of electronics, and some wonderful bass work played on stick. It suddenly explodes into the characteristic Maurin sound, you certainly also will pick up in Nil and throughout this album, - and how exactly does one explain that? -Just to elaborate on the washing machine metaphor, which incidentally still remains apt. Picture this ferocious amalgamation of sound being hurled head first into a diamond shaped contour - with the music bouncing off all the different surfaces - only to be flung in a slightly off course direction. It never gets truly circular, but rather tumbles around in this jewel, whether it´s giving off soft and subtle sounds or breaching out in beautiful hellish structures. Music from within a diamond - yeah that sounds about right...
The only thing I feel letting this album a bit down is perhaps the absence of drummer extraordinairre Frank Niebel, which isn´t to say that Michel Lebeau is poor - only that Niebel in his jazzy outbreaks and off beat rhythms, had an original way of transforming and elevating all of the sounds around him into an altogether different kind of beast - one you couldn´t quite describe. I feel Lebeau tries duplicating that vibe, and he does so very well, but I just feel like something is missing. -And maybe this is the thing that, alongside Sébastien Penel´s vocals, separate Thork from Nil. This is of course just a preference from my side, but if you like Nil - you´ll certainly want to jump on board this black French steamboat.
This album is recommended to everyone with a taste for experimental music, that is propulsive like zeuhl, grandiose like a weeping symphony or beautiful like a ray of light shot through the center of our most precious diamonds.
David Guldbamsen

Thork's Weila is a dark collection of compositions with a tone reminiscent of a folkier version of mid-1970s King Crimson. Imagine a mashup between the pastoral folkiness and range of different instruments characteristic of Anglagard (drawing more from their dark moments) and the intensity and nods to King Crimson demonstrated by Anekdoten, and add perhaps a pinch of Magma's percussive, rhythmic compositional approach and that should give you an idea of the sort of sonic universe Thork are operating in (namely, a bloody weird one). This is one to lend repeated listens to, because with everything that's going on here it would be difficult to catch what Thork are doing purely on the basis of a single listen.
W. Arthur

Thork is a band without biography, so it's quite difficult to gather some information about it, and more, a true information about it especially if you don't understand French. Anyhow, some hints can be found from here and there: Thork was founded at 1998 by Sébastien Fillion and Antoine Aureche and later Michel Lebeau, Samuel Maurin and Claire Northey joined the band. By the time the band was very young and the players were just a teenagers, except Samuel Maurin who was a bit older.
According to them, they played dark progressive folk and that it is, for their original sound is bottomless dark, truly progressive and deeply complex with folk influences appearing for example in Claire Northey's violin playing. The darkness Thork achieves to insert into their music is so thick it propably could be cut with a knife. Most of the ideas and influences comes from celtic and medieval music and issues, yet also metal, classical and even jazz influences can be found in there, but their sound is still extremely original without a slighest idea of similar band.
Their second album We-ila is an utter masterpiece! Put the record into your player, set volume level a bit higher than normally and push play... The first thought is 'Ouch, Now we go...' and within few seconds you realise that you are listening at something great. Within few minutes you Know you are listening to something Great!
The album starter L'Origine is a real mind blower, it starts with a really tight drums and heavy guitar. Soon one of the finest singer ever walked on earth joins in and the song is pure feast, balancing somewhere between heavy progressive metal and dark, frightening folk, a Thork's own playground. They compose a brilliant mix of violin driven headbanging with a very emotional vocals. Later it calms down and turns to dark beauty leaving most of the metal behind.
What we are talking about here is really dark and beautiful prog with a nice multilayered complexity, very professional playing and lots of instruments. At times the music varies from violin oriented dark folk, from mind blowing heavy metal bursts into beautiful vocal melodies. There is no room for improvement - everything is just perfect!
The second track Delectable Ennui is one of those rarities that makes you cry inside that 'how can anything be so f...g Great! and nutshells the brilliant idea of Thork's music very nicely. It's a slow tempo darkness, stunning vocals and choirs, that goes on and on and one can only wonder how can they put so many feelings in so less notes. Then comes a short interlude Errance and massive Ea marches in. It makes you piss into your pants in fear and cry for the beauty of music!
The feeling througout the record is like you were in some fantasy novel's caves or castles following some dark rituals in trance. Not in vain of Carmina Burana but something totally different, scary and beautiful.
After a short interlude the feast continues. Dance de la Terre joins in being the most rhytmically complex, most NIL-like piece here. Even vocals are performed by Roselyne Berthet. It makes you shiver. The last track is no exception, being just as great as everything on this disc.
No weak moments, total brilliance from the very first sound into the last one. This is certainly one of the best prog records ever made - it brilliantly combines quite a lot of the aspects I seek from progressive rock and music overall. At first, it's really complex using many levels of simultaneous themes, odd time signatures, changes, long and complex compositions... Then is the mind blowing power, metal is used very carefully and sophisticatedly. The vocal parts are of top quality also, not only the lead vocals but choirs, samples, spoken words, everything. And then there's the instrumental quality, how all those are playing together, how the ideas are rich for example using the violin and how they never fall into for example individual soloing. This album cannot be recommended highly enough. Just buy it!
Nilman

This is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time. Really complex music (elements of folk, classical and down right weird stuff) and excellent musicianship. I've knocked 1 star off for Ea (a tad over stretched out) but "L'Origine" is sheer brillinace.
Dave Preston

First of all, IMO, it is wrogly labeled here as Prog Folk. I have not listened to their first album yet, but in this one I can't hear any folk influences whatsoever. It is rather very dark symphonic prog with very complex song structure, and very rich sound, mainly because due to variety of instruments involved - there is plenty of keyboards, and apart from usual guitar, bass, drums you can also hear flute, violon, cello, verious percussions and even sitar. There are 5 main instrumentalists on this album plus one pure vocalist, plus six guest musicians, including female background vocals. This album (consisiting of 7 tracks) is sixty six and a half minutes of darkness, which will probably put you in a very sombre mood, however it is very much enjoyable. It is not an easy piece to swallow in one go, and requires certain tuning in from a listener. I had listened to it probably about ten times before I started this short review. By its darkness and melancholy it can remind of some scandinavian prog, and more obvious comparison I can make is with Morte Macabre (playing horror movies soundtracks), but, my God, how much better, more variable, more complex, and , in general, more interesting this album by Thork is! Highly recommended to all those prog lovers who like dark mood in music, and in any case an excellent addition to any prog music collection.
Eugene

Thork is a band without biography, so it's quite difficult to gather some information about it, and more, a true information about it especially if you don't understand French. Anyhow, some hints can be found from here and there: Thork was founded at 1998 by Sébastien Fillion and Antoine Aureche and later Michel Lebeau, Samuel Maurin and Claire Northey joined the band. By the time the band was very young and the players were just a teenagers, except Samuel Maurin who was a bit older.
According to them, they played dark progressive folk and that it is, for their original sound is bottomless dark, truly progressive and deeply complex with folk influences appearing for example in Claire Northey's violin playing. The darkness Thork achieves to insert into their music is so thick it propably could be cut with a knife. Most of the ideas and influences comes from celtic and medieval music and issues, yet also metal, classical and even jazz influences can be found in there, but their sound is still extremely original without a slighest idea of similar band.
Their second album We-ila is an utter masterpiece! Put the record into your player, set volume level a bit higher than normally and push play... The first thought is 'Ouch, Now we go...' and within few seconds you realise that you are listening at something great. Within few minutes you Know you are listening to something Great!
The album starter 'L'Origine' is a real mind blower, it starts with a really tight drums and heavy guitar. Soon one of the finest singer ever walked on earth joins in and the song is pure feast, balancing somewhere between heavy progressive metal and dark, frightening folk, a Thork's own playground. They compose a brilliant mix of violin driven headbanging with a very emotional vocals. Later it calms down and turns to dark beauty leaving most of the metal behind.
What we are talking about here is really dark and beautiful prog with a nice multilayered complexity, very professional playing and lots of instruments. At times the music varies from violin oriented dark folk, from mind blowing heavy metal bursts into beautiful vocal melodies. There is no room for improvement - everything is just perfect!
The second track 'Delectable Ennui' is one of those rarities that makes you cry inside that 'how can anything be so f...g Great! and nutshells the brilliant idea of Thork's music very nicely. It's a slow tempo darkness, stunning vocals and choirs, that goes on and on and one can only wonder how can they put so many feelings in so less notes. Then comes a short interlude 'Errance' and massive 'Ea' marches in. It makes you piss into your pants in fear and cry for the beauty of music!
The feeling througout the record is like you were in some fantasy novel's caves or castles following some dark rituals in trance. Not in vain of Carmina Burana but something totally different, scary and beautiful.
After a short interlude the feast continues. 'Dance de la Terre' joins in being the most rhytmically complex, most NIL-like piece here. Even vocals are performed by Roselyne Berthet. It makes you shiver. The last track is no exception, being just as great as everything on this disc.
No weak moments, total brilliance from the very first sound into the last one. This is certainly one of the best prog records ever made - it brilliantly combines quite a lot of the aspects I seek from progressive rock. At first, it's really complex using many levels of simultaneous themes, odd time signatures, changes, long and complex compositions... Then is the mind blowing power of metal, used very carefully and sophisticatedly. The vocal parts are of top quality also, not only the lead vocals but choirs, samples, spoken words, everything. And then there's the instrumental quality, how all those are playing together, how the ideas are rich for example using the violin and how they never fall into for example individual soloing. This album cannot be recommended highly enough. Just buy it!
herrahuu

Repito, todos los trabajos de la trilogía es de lo más selecto que hay en el blog cabezón, y al mismo tiempo desconocido, espero que sepan disfrutarlo y apreciarlo como corresponde.



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Este espacio se reserva el derecho de publicar sobre cualquier tema que parezca interesante a su staff, no solamente referidos a la cuestión musical sino también a lo político y social.
Si no estás de acuerdo con lo expresado podrás dejar tu comentario siempre que no sea ofensivo, discriminador o violento...

Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).