Gunhild Odinsdotter 27-Jul-2006 Ciclos

Doing a double-LP concept album based upon Vivaldi’s ”The four Seasons” is undeniably a rather ambigious project, and I must admit that it has taken me not just a few listenings to realize that this is indeed a wonderfully strong album. To fully understand it though, it is crucial that one listens to it as a concept album, and not just as a fun progging up of the old Vivaldi riffs, which admittedly didn’t quite work for me the first times I heard them, but that have kind of grown on me through several listenings. The groovy and tasteful drum playing justifies any objections I originally had to it’s pompousness. For this is indeed a pompous album, no honest person would try to deny that. But if one allows this pompousness to just be there, almost as a necessary part of the concept, and just let the mellotrones and analogue synths do their thing, one all of a sudden realizes that this is really emotionally powerful stuff, and if you dismiss it as corny after only a few listenings, like I did at first, you’re not listening carefully enough to allow the album to deliver its message to you. The vocal work on this album is especially outstanding. Stylistically, the music moves rapidly, smoothly and elegantly between such extremes as electronical noise, ”switched on” baroque, gregorian chant and mean progressive rock, to mention only a few. The choir arrangements and singing on side 2 has a very powerful and effectful, yet elegant simplicity that gives the lyric excactly the devastating power they are meant to, and although dealing with existensial questions they don’t come out embarrasingly banal at all, as could easily have been the case in a setting like this, had it been done by someone less convinced of the power of their ideas. What really holds it up is the extreme, vulnerable directness of the lead singer, and the very tasteful way in which the rock aspect is integrated and performed. It is important to note the titles of the different tracks, as they clarify the meaning of the whole work, and places the wellknown but electrified Vivaldi themes in a philosophical setting that is crucial for understanding this work correctly. The main riff of the opening track on side 3, ”Little Extravagant Concerto”, although only a small part of a bigger whole, is in my opinion reason enough to love this album. But there are so many more reasons, like the unity that is maintained, although the degree of variation in the musical material is so vast. Remember when the most corny adaptations of Vivaldi make you jump in your seat that they are not meant as a tribute to the baroque classical style, but rather as an ironic comment on certain aspects of our modern civilisation. (Or at least, that’s how I percieve it. The possible interpretations are of course as diverse as the individual differences between all individuals listening to it.) On side 4 things really take off with the juxtaposition of the percussive choir against the hard rocking riffs, and the already mentioned pompousness that the album is heavy with, if you let it, explodes into a climax that is really powerful, as long as one remembers to consider the not insignificant dose of humour that plays an important part in the articulation of the albums’ meaning. The electronical experiments that follow are really hardcore, and contrast the harmonical sweetness of the Vivaldi themes in a way that balance the work very well. ”Cyclos” is a very unique concept album that deserves and demands repeated listening to, in order to fully understand its great significance.

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