Cuneiform RecordsThinking Plague : A history of madness (US,2003)****
The first thing that came into my mind when I listened to the latest release of Thinking Plague, is that this is "adult music", in the real sense, not as music which wants to shock, cross borders, in wanting to be ego-interesting, yearning for something beyond the normal, searching for crossing values without knowing how to contribute in a balanced way, etc..; the 'usual' term "adult music" usually qualifies music as eternal puberty instead. Of course this usual signification also means that children "should not be exposed", because it actually crosses a dangerous line. Sometimes this can be just a dangerous territory, but still an interesting exploration of wider perspectives, when well balanced within yourself. But for this music, with the newly phrased sense, it means that the listener only has to have an adult perspective on music, and a capability to understand it and its content, nothing more. Exposed to child like natures real adult music can not harm ; they can't get a grip on it yet.
The music itself is really well balanced, with no unnecessary musical ideas. It works like contemporary music without really becoming R.I.O.-styled, contemporary classical music, jazz, but holds the middle between all this. It works very filmically, story like. I wish there were images with it, although I can imagine them. The story itself is rather dark, the music is "colourful" enough not to be, be it in more darker coloured colours, like the cover picture, with a real dramatic, but an ever controlled tension...
On the first 5 track one might be reminded at some moments of early Art Bears, with somewhat bigger conceptual and more strained and stretched out ideas.
On the 6th track, "Our "way of life" and "War on Terra" there is a small dark soundscape added. From there the mood somewhat changes.
The following "Least Aether for saxophone & le gouffre" is a beautiful very contemporary improvisation for sax, seemingly recorded live. The applause is carefully taken over by the somewhat similar water sound, now getting even deeper into moods and storytelling-like, dark and brooding tensions, to go back to the earlier kind of composing, with odd female vocal harmonies and the group's sound tensions.
An enthralling successful effort.
PS. : Thinking Plague who already consist of 6 people received help from another 6 people.