Thursday, October 30, 2008
Anekdoten—A Time of Day (Virta)
The latest Anekdoten album contains a golden moment in the form of a jarring musical event that almost made me fall off my chair the first time I heard it. This moment occurs during the album’s second track, “30 Pieces,” a jagged waltz that gets more and more intense, building up to a crazed unison passage before releasing, suddenly and gloriously, into…a flute solo. And not just a flute solo, but a flute solo introduced by an almighty whack from a vibra-slap. Two good things that go great together. I believe the band were trying to kill me with coolness.
A lot of fans still cling to Anekdoten’s earlier albums, where their King Crimson influences were more blatant, but over the course of five studio full-lengths they’ve refined that style to become very much their own thing, and that thing is still compelling to me. Their sound is anchored by Anna Sofi-Dahlberg’s vintage-sounding keyboards and the raspy, stealthy bass lines of Jan Erik Liljeström, both of them combining to infuse the songs with overarching melancholy. The songs themselves are pretty economical by prog standards. Never ones to solo at any length, Anekdoten prefer to steer verse/chorus structures towards mini-instrumentals before returning to a previously established part. It’s often these detours that produce the most thrilling, dark moments, such as the monolithic riff that erupts in the midst of “A Sky About to Rain” or the ethereal drone section that bisects “Prince of the Ocean.” Sometimes I think I should change the name of this blog, because music by bands like Anekdoten is such an effortless pleasure. Whatever further refinements they make to their material in the future, as long as they retain their solid songwriting and—most importantly—their sound, I’ll be listening.