Ex Canix - Primi - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ex Canix - Primi

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2018-03-11
Ex Canix - Primi
Ex Canix - Primi

This is fusion, but it certainly doesn’t really sound like the Mahavishnu Orchestra or Weather Report. Rather, this a fusion of prog rock, world music, and jazz. This hybrid produces a musical tapestry that conjures the memories of Jade Warrior during its Island period. (Parts could be a mirror to the great Kites album). The guitar and keyboards swirl and gurgle with dense textural melodies, while the rock-solid percussion and bass anchor the proggy heavens to the Earth.

So, let’s just say Primi is an absolutely gorgeous album of dramatic and melodic rock music that sends its roots back to the 70’s when adventurous musicians somehow managed (in a corporate world) to make wonderous records with all sorts of weird sounds that did funny things to a listener’s brain. 

Or, to quote Rod Stewart (of “Gasoline Alley,” “Maggie May,” and too many silly recent records fame), There’s Never a Dull Moment.

The record begins with “Can You Take me to Tay Umago.” A deep bass and drum ushers in this melodic cacophony that could be loosely termed post rock with the guitar and keyboards buzzing, clanging, and burbling in wonderful and weird harmony that can only be described as very modern Sirens, who have abandoned singing, picked up rock instruments, and have found a new way to lure the sailor to the shore. (More about sailors will, thankfully, follow in the next paragraph.)

Oh, and the tune makes any given séance seem a bit more ghost friendly.

It certainly leads to the next song, “Feed the Monster,” which conjures magic from a sax, more of that steady percussion, and a subtle piano and organ.  Almost-voices (which could almost be sung by the image on the cover of The Cure’s Faith album) hover in the background. The whole thing vaguely reminds me of that mid-section between “Formentera Lady” and Fripp’s guitar solo in “Sailor’s Tale” on King Crimson’s Islands. Both songs simply wander the mysteries of the Mediterranean and the mind.

Then a very Crimson-like mellotron descends over the soundscape of “Slow for You.” Still more almost- voices hover in a fog. This is eerie stuff. Then that mellotron and a guitar inspect the solemn landscape of the song. Again, Crimson comes to mind, and I am reminded of the ending of “Lizard” as Prince Rupert laments the carnage of “The Battle of the Glass Tears.” 

An important idea: this record, while having distinct songs, should really be heard as a unified work, which, of course, only conjures yet another specter of those long ago wonderous prog masterpieces. By now, of course, it should be rather axiomatic that a) I really love this album and b) this record is a must for all lovers of progressive rock.

You know, there’s an odd symbiotic relationship between the strange and contrary bed-fellows of an itch and a scratch. But this record somehow manages both with relative prog-rocking ease. Yes, this music roams the dark edges of the universe, but it always returns back home with a few nice melodies to hum.

The rather brief “Out There” begins with a piano, but then (what sounds like) a mbira, or thumb piano, gets a percussive voice, until the heavens open up with a Bill Bruford-like drum performance. The song then returns to a piano ending. It’s a nice interlude.

And ditto for “Minetta,” during which all wah-wah fueled guitar hell breaks loose and burns its way over an (almost) traditional jazz fusion backdrop with a cool bit of electronics.

Space becomes the Place for the final two songs. “Dreamland” returns to the lengthy format with a lump of nebulae noise that is kept in check by a simple piano melody and human-hearted percussion. This one makes John Milton’s cold vast vacuity of dark Paradise Lost space rather inviting with bass guitar pulsing, mellotrons roaming, more almost voices from that Cure record cover singing, and simple piano melodies. Trust me: This saucer is full of even more secrets. And “In the Can” is even a better trip into the cosmos. Exotic percussion begins the tune. Then keyboards wobble; the drums are even more insistent; that sax returns and ushers in a duet with a guitar that, once again, burns the remaining gas in this album’s tank.  All the while, the keyboards continue to wobble in weird harmony with that bass and drum as they pulse their way through the universe.

You know, I love Swedish prog rock like The Flower Kings, Tangent, and Anglagard. I also love the old stuff like Kaipa, Dice, Bo Hanson, and Kebnekaise. This record is quite different. These guys have heard the past, and they move that memory into a modern world. By the way, they do share a drummer with the great Flowers Must Die; although in fairness, the Flowers are much more given to a violin-driven psychedelic Eastern vibe. But both bands, thankfully, make my stereo system bounce around a bit, and my old Polk Audio speakers look like they may have lost a little weight. Great music does that. This is nice stuff.

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