Syrinx - Tumblers From The Vault (1970-1972) - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Syrinx - Tumblers From The Vault (1970-1972)

by Mark Steele Rating:7 Release Date:2016-10-14

During the late 1960s into the early 1970s, progressive music was establishing its modern identity. Rock was readily challenging the norm of the standard song format and experimenting with freeform jams, Jazz had become rapidly electric piano and synthesisers, leading to the subgenre of Jazz Fusion spearheaded by Miles Davis in its infancy - using rock, R&B, classical and electronica instruments for new sounds to create their unique canvases. Many names are known from this period, except now and again some were forgotten and have been suitably resurrected many years later.

Conceived in 1970 by composer/instrumentalist John Mills-Cockell, alongside Saxophonist Doug Pringle and Percussionist Allen Wells. Syrinx amalgamated Psych Rock, Classical, Electronica and World music into a form that restructured their Jazz/Classical heritage into a sound all of their own. The band had incidentally also supported Miles Davis on his Bitches Brew tour. There are 15-tracks through which to explore from their short career.

Opening with sprightly sax lines over a repetitive synth on 'Tumblers To The Vault', improvise as best as it can despite the jungle percussion beat dominating. It then seems to fade out like a retro arcade machine lullaby. Then once the next track 'Syren' drops it has some funky electric piano, screechy synths, allowing warped dreamy sax patterns to stay flowing, Yet the sounds  switch from cool jazz like tones to an almost distorted blowout. There are some strings which play some expectant harmonies.

The screeching and warbly instrument at the beginning of 'December Angel', makes way for a real enchanting set of arpeggios from possibly a harp, joined by xylophone and strings. There is a definitely a melancholic orchestral soundscape to wade through steadily, a great use of tension to the end is contained within. Fuzzy warped sax patterns 'Ibistix' tagged onto drone synths are has a darkly eastern apocalyptic gloominess, which the strings seem to take it further tension wide. The bassline again follows the frantic drama to the end.

The melody and harmonies via strings on 'Field Hymn {Epiloque}' additional to the later 'Field Hymn' sound quite organic, whilst moving at a pace with a similarity to Kraftwerk 'Tillicum', is bright, with a TV program filler element to it, also see likewise in vibe 'Better Deaf And Dumb From The First', which is sax-heavy. The interplanetary catchy vibe on 'Aurora Spinray' could be a jam session from the cantina from Star Wars, whilst suspense filled 'Melina's Touch' has a paranoia evident and 'Journey Tree' is eerie in a clutching-at-straws apocalyptic manner.

A real repetitive Jean Micheal Jarre trippiness ensues on 'Chant For Your Dragon King', a droning synth orchestra on the beat, hypnotically throughout it  builds each time there laps on the loop. Whimsical swinging romantic and dreamy,  is the aptly named 'Hollywood Dream Trip'. the surreal emotional mind masher is the melodically abstract'Father Of Light', which could have been composer Vangelis on an Acid Test Experiment hosted by Boards Of Canada. Last on the sheet 'Appaloosa - Pegasus' has a video arcade game soundtrack feel, the synths are well layered, with the melody clearly cutting through into sirenic oblivion.

Tumblers From The Vault is avant-garde and not too jazzy as a whole. It is experimental yet functional, providing many references for later acts who would take electronica further in the next 8-10 years.

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