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Afenginn - Reptilica Polaris CD (album) cover

REPTILICA POLARIS

Afenginn

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.03 | 10 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Reptilica Polaris is the third full length studio album from Danish avant garde act Afenginn. From the first notes it´s unmistakably Afenginn you´re listening to, but keep listening and you´ll soon be surprised, because Afenginn has incorporated a new and very different element into their sound on Reptilica Polaris which means that it stands out from their first two albums Retrograd from 2004 and Akrobakkus from 2006.

Retrograd was a crazy bastard of an album. Strange and mostly uptempo avant garde songs with both ethnic Scandinavian and Balkan folk elements. You´ll also find jazz and classical chamber music elements on that album. It´s almost fully intrumental. Akrobakkus holds the same elements but adds a melancholic and beautiful touch to Afenginn´s music. I´m very fond of both of those albums. The intrumentation is very organic. Intruments like clarinet, Violin, mandolin, mandocello and various sort of percussion are very prominant in the soundscape.

The new element Afenginn adds to their sound on Reptilica Polaris is a big choir. It´s a significant change to their sound but what a powerful and sometimes symphonic element. Reptilica Polaris is a concept album and all songs seque into each other and form a long suite. The choir also means that there are actual lyrics on the album. The lyrics are a hilarious mix of latin and Danish ( maybe a bit of English too) and showcase Afenginn´s great humour. The music is mostly melancholic ( which is a strange contrast to the hilarious lyrics), but the uptempo folky balkan parts still appear in songs like Iguana Segregatis and Massacre Gnu allthough they are not as dominant a part of Afenginn´s music as they used to be. Another new feature in Afenginn´s music appears in Hosianna Reinkarnator which for the first time as far as I can remember has ordinary drums.

There´s a change to the lineup compared to the lineup on Akrobakkus from 2006 as bassist Andrzej Krejniuk has left Afenginn. He is replaced by Aske Jacoby on Reptilica Polaris. Aske Jacoby is one of the most prolific session musicians in Denmark. He has played with bands like News, C.V. Jørgensen, Sanne Salomonsen, Thomas Helmig, Kasper Winding and Danseorkesteret ( all famous Danish artists). According to his wiki page he has participated on more than two houndred albums since 1979. He usually plays guitar but he plays bass on Reptilica Polaris. The rest of the musicians are outstanding too. Composer Kim Nyberg needs to be given a special mention for his excellent compositional skills.

The production is beautiful and organic. One of the better productions I´ve heard in a while.

I have to mention the beautiful cover artwork on Reptilica Polaris too. A strange picture of a reptile riding a whale says a lot about the humour on this album, but the deep blue colours also tell you about the melancholic side of the music. Seldom has a cover been more suiting IMO.

Reptilica Polaris is an excellent album. This is not hard to access avant garde with strange dissonant sounds and weird time signatures. Reptilica Polaris is actually a pretty melodic album and even though it´s very challenging I think it´s fairly easy to access. This is a well deserved BIG 4 star rating. Challenge yourself with something unusual and give Reptilica Polaris a chance. It certainly deserves the attention. We can expect even greater things from Afenginn in the future.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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