What does it sound like?:
(First, full disclosure – like many Afterworders I know @Colin_H on the blog, and a little bit off the blog as well, and no, I didn’t pay for my copy of this album. Having said that, I would gladly have paid good money for it and I would still have wanted to review it if I hadn’t known him at all!)
This is a largely instrumental album, a remastered and expanded edition of the 2010 original version that contained only the seven tracks comprising The Ice Museum Suite. Five more instrumental tracks have been added to this beautiful reissue, along with four wonderful vocal tracks.
The Ice Museum Suite (tracks 4-10) is a journey into the Arctic and through the ages of exploration, held together by a common musical theme. As I listen to each track I can feel the changes in the weather, I can see the vast emptiness of the never ending ice, I can get lost in the emotions of a journey into the unknown. And I listen, impressed, to Colin’s beautiful guitar playing. ”To Sail For Eternity” especially is an absolutely gorgeous solo effort on acoustic guitars, and ”The Last Place On Earth” is another kind of gorgeous with the icy melodic beauty of the flugelhorn floating over calm waves of keyboard and drum.
The added instrumental tracks are also lovely in different ways, from the mellow surf music-inspired first track, over two Fridtjof Nansen-inspired tracks leading perfectly into the following Suite, then a sweet little piece for clarinet and guitar written for, and played with, a good friend, and finally my favourite; ”Passing Away: For the Dodo and the Great Auk”, played by a string quartet.
And then comes four wonderful songs, the first sung by Carol-Anne Lennie and the rest by Colin himself (with occasional back-up singing by Karen Smyth). I’m finding myself humming all of them daily while I go about my business, very catchy and full of melancholy beauty. Complete earworms (in a good way). I don’t know which one I love more, it changes daily (today it’s ”Rust”).
This is an album that gets better and better, with each track and each listen. It’s prog, in the best possible way, with flavours of jazz and folk – and you know it has to be prog when you find both a Jan Akkerman solo and a Tibetan singing bowl on the same album…
What does it all *mean*?
That The Afterword is littered with talented people.
Goes well with…
A warm blanket, a comfortable armchair and a hot mug of tea to sip on when the Arctic cold hits you.
Or slow cooking.
Might suit people who like…
Prog rock. Instrumental music. Great songs. Yes, OK: and The Mahavishnu Orchestra…!
In fact, most people on The Afterword.