Gazpacho
Tick Tock


4.5
superb

Review

by ProgJect USER (31 Reviews)
March 28th, 2012 | 73 replies | 5,773 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A magnificent desert walk.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Gazpacho are a Norwegian neo-progressive band with strong ambient and space rock sensibilities, standing at the forefront of the prog revival movement. Since their first album in 2002, the band has managed, promoted and produced all of their own albums. The structure and feel of the music are reminiscent of Phideaux, while the slow-paced progressions recall Talk Talk’s later post-rock days. Due to their dark, passionate ambiance and sonic texture, the group has always been associated with the Hogarth-led incantation of Marillion (a regular touring partner), though they also reference Radiohead in this context. Gazpacho offers strong melodic content, complemented by dreamy, ethereal moods. The expansive music combines subtle shades and airy, spacey atmospheres through clever arrangements, with orchestral overtones.

The band found both a mature and distinctive sound (soundscapes combining piano/keyboard and violin) through their two stellar concept albums: Night and its successor Tick Tock, their most representative efforts to date. Tick Tock has more depth and content than its predecessor, a natural evolution stylistically. Both build towards a similar climax, retaining a melancholic, heart-wrenching attitude. They are skilfully gloomy, at times even radiant within their atmosphere. No place for fiery solos, sudden time changes or a technical skill display, only for incredible songwriting; their style falls somewhere between moody progressive and classic alternative, unable to be really defined.

Gazpacho’s influences are noted in Jan Henrik Ohmes’ deep, sensitive yet fragile voice, which could be described as Mark Hollis meets Steve Hogarth. The band’s playing creates a sense of restrained power, as guitar, keyboards and violin weave a compulsive spell around the hypnotic rhythm. The well-accentuated use of cello, violin and flute strengthens the piano, organ and especially dominant mellotron, respectively manned by Mikael Komer and Thomas Anderson, who keep on building a wonderful wall of sound with their instruments.

This particular record is the extended development of a theme: the two featured epics Walk and Tick Tock are sandwiched in between the two shorter Desert Flight and Winter is Never. A simple, repetitive rhythm – as implied by the album’s title – sets the foundation for magical slow builds and haunting soundscapes, as the musical tension is ever so carefully wound up. The subject matter concerns the attempted long distance flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, his co-pilot, and their crash in the desert. Listening to the album with the proper background in mind adds to the music considerably. The title ‘Tick Tock’ is a metaphor for the walking that these men did through the desert, and draws the foundation for the album; Gazpacho hit the feeling of this environment perfectly. The cover art helps to convey the desperation of the trek across the desert, with the mirrored image of the clock set in sand.

Desert Flight is the harder rocking opening that actually represents the flight itself. The song is pretty fast paced for their style at the time, showing an edgier side of Gazpacho with its harsh guitar, very much comparable to Muse. After the plane crashes and the wandering starts, the album comes closer to the subtlety, hypnotic flow and mellow atmosphere that the band accomplished in the cold beauty of Night.

As a result, the remainder of the material presents this dreamy atmosphere with many eerie tapestries, in an emotional and focused way. The Walk is deeply melodic, with wonderful layered keyboards and a Middle Eastern-flavoured violin, full of grace and character. The title track targets a timeless horizon, displaying arrangements that rise in a calm, determined splendour; the ticking rhythm that runs through it is a great touch and invokes the story well. The closing Winter is Never is the most straightforward track and acts as a lullaby, gently easing towards the end of this incredible musical vessel.

Gazpacho bring well-crafted songs and passionate performances here, creating incredible, emotionally strong atmospheres, which further benefit from an excellent production. The music is grandiose but never self-indulgent. The emphasis is on the collective: thanks to the recurring rhythmical motif, the tracks flow together to make standout moments less important than the overall feel of the record. It is an engaging, carefully plotted journey, an insistent train ride where the scenery slowly becomes more dramatic. Tick Tock demands your full attention, but those who enjoy subtlety and flow are in for a treat.



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user ratings (62)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ProgJect
March 28th 2012



37 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

ProgJect's excuses for its temporary absence, but here's some yummy prog indeed!

pizzamachine
March 28th 2012



12571 Comments


Excellent review, and I don't say that often.

tarkus
March 28th 2012



5560 Comments


heard of these guys

Dimor
March 28th 2012



1750 Comments


Band is pretty cool. Their latest album is really good

D41V30N
March 28th 2012



949 Comments


Brilliant review. Love these guys. Someone should review the new album as soon as they get their hands on it.

ConsiderPhlebas
March 28th 2012



6157 Comments


Always been a fan of ProgJect reviews - pos

TheNotrap
March 28th 2012



7981 Comments


Will check this out.

Have a gazpacho pos ProgJect team.

Jethro42
March 28th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My oh my, Nag mate, I really really like what you did with the review. It makes the reading so much readable compared to my initial throwing. In this way, we will surely gain more attention and who knows if in a near future, some other sputnikers will join us to the wonderful prog bandwagon. Thank you all for reading us. Stick around, another ProgJect is coming up very soon. Curved Air's Air Cut it's gonna be. ProgJect is still on his way. P/

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2012



7310 Comments


Good job on the review. This band has never really captured my attention.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Jethro42
March 28th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks man. If ever you try this one and you don't like it, forget about them.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2012



7310 Comments


Ok. I listened to some stuff of theirs, namely their last but one album and I found it really bland. Today I've also reviewed a prog album. Feel free to check this rev out.

Zettel
March 28th 2012



582 Comments


Nice reading. For a moment I thought you were done for good, glad to see it is not the case. Any plans for ProgJect to review some contemporary prog-rock/metal?

EDIT: Oops! Did not notice this is actually a modern album. I always assume you write about 20 year old or so albums, haha.

Jethro42
March 29th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're right Zettel, we tend to cover the classic prog-rock more than anything so far. The main reason is that we have so many fires to put out from that era. Be aware that our aim is to cover as many stellar albums as possible regardless the era. Progland is a vast territory and there is still so much left to do for ProgJect. Here are some modern bands to consider that come off the top of my head;
Karmakanic (I think you're the one who rec'd me to cover something from them. Anyway, I'm currently jamming some), Moongarden, Solaris, The Watch, IQ, Arena, After Crying, Thinking Plague, Neal Morse, Kevin Gilbert, Redemption, Pantommind ...




D41V30N
March 29th 2012



949 Comments


Their last album is their weakest among their last 3 or 4 albums.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2012



19975 Comments


Really good review guys, pos'd.

I need to check this out. I've heard some of thier new album which sounds pretty good.

Nagrarok
March 29th 2012



8169 Comments


Thanks everyone!

I'm glad you like the result Jethro. Upon reading/correcting this I think I may have to look into this album myself ;)

Zettel
March 29th 2012



582 Comments


@Jethro:

Out of those bands, I only know Karmakanic, which are great. It is the general opinion that prog peaked several decades ago, so I may understand why modern bands do not get much attention. It is all already done before, is not it?

That is why I am probably more interested in prog-metal, sounds comparatively much more fresh. There was a time actually when I tried to get into classic prog-rock (Genesis, Jethro Tull, King Crimson), but it was too theatrical for me. It felt too calculated ad staged to be really exciting for me. Long time ago I met this guy who hated prog-rock with a passion, and gave very interesting reasons to do so. For him, prog really killed the wild spirit of rock, and turned it into a show of technicality and self-indulgence, something nobody but their creator could relate to.

I do not hate prog, but I understand why it scares some people away. By the way, what do you think of The Mars Volta? Would you agree with the majority that they are not *real* prog?

Jethro42
March 29th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nagrarok and JT; I could easily see you digging both this and ''Night''. Enjoy!
@Zettel;
Yes, Mars volta are a real prog band since every essential ingredients (and more) are reunited, and they are heavily influenced by the 60s and 70s. They flirt with several different genres including free-jazz, psychedelic, hard-rock, jam-rock, art rock, punk...
As for classic rock vs prog; It's hard to compare both of them since they are coming from two different worlds. I for one grew up with both simultaneously and I assure you that I'm still enjoying prog rock the most by a huge marge. The flaws you did attribute to prog above can also be its unwavering strenght. By definition, prog pushes the boundaries of the standard rock and its standard structures. Prog incorporates psychedelic, classical and jazz elements, it adds atypical instruments and it deals with tempo changes and odd time signatures and all. How could you get any better?...Prog never tries to imitate classic rock whereas classic rock does frequently try to imitate prog. Hey Hey My My, prog and rock can never die.



AnotherBrick
April 4th 2012



9770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sup dude, been awhile. great review, glad to see you're still doing this

Jethro42
April 8th 2012



12377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey Brick, come visit us again, we're never too far. Cheers man.



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