Review Summary: Sputnikmusic: we care about our summaries
There is an interesting duality to experimental music. On the one hand, artists are pushing every imaginable boundary to try and break new ground, in a world where anyone with money and a larynx can become a superstar. Gone are the days of musical integrity; ‘cashing in’ has become the biggest trend now. The other side to experimentalism is, of course, that there is seldom anyone paying enough attention to appreciate it.
But the Gabriel Construct’s sprawling debut, Interior City
, is not an album that asks for your attention – it demands it. Right from the strange, mesmerizing ambience that opens the record, you are sucked into a world that is very unlike the one in which we live. With a concept that revolves around overcoming our mental programming and regaining our self-respect, there can be no better soundscape than one which enables us to imagine that such events would even be possible.
Midway through the captivating opener is the first appearance of Gabriel Lucas Riccio’s vocals. While being perhaps the most polarizing aspect of this release, “Arrival in a Distant Land” is also a great example of how well his voice fits the music. Despite initially seeming quite intrusive, once you get used to the sound of the vocals they really add to the atmosphere. “Ranting Prophet” is a definite highlight in this regard, Riccio’s voice growing more and more impatient as the track wears on, eventually breaking into frustrated screaming.
’s midsection does a fantastic job of establishing the atmosphere, with plenty of psychedelic and jazzy avant-rock pieces. However, the biggest standouts are those towards the latter half, with “Languishing in Lower Chakras” being a particularly noteworthy moment. In what can perhaps best be described as an experimental dark ambient piece, “Languishing...” is quite simply one of the best ‘interlude’ tracks I have ever heard, creating a tense mood ahead of the epic closer.
“Curing Somatization” is one of the most chaotic and disorientating songs on the album and yet it also feels like the most complete realisation of Riccio’s vision. Starting off with a jazzy prog-rock section akin to something from The Mars Volta (even the song title seems to point to a direct influence), before moving through a variety of different genres to its stunning conclusion, “Curing Somatization” is the perfect way to end this unique and spellbinding record.
In a world that favours conformity above all else, The Gabriel Construct will perhaps never receive the hype it deserves. But maybe, just maybe, we can break free from our brainwashed states long enough to appreciate a brilliant piece of art such as this.