Gazpacho - When Earth Lets Go

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Happy Thoughts
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:37:00

The definition of elegance is something that's simple, but effective. Gazpacho meets this definition to a tee. The music is not complex to the ears, but it is both intriguing and intricate. The brilliance of the music is very subtle. The music is ultra-sophisticated in how each instrument ponders every note before making a single sound. The placement of everything is carefully thought out. The sequence and production will remind one of a Steven Wilson project. Atmospheric sounds and soundbytes are used sparingly, but applied wisely. The album is progressive rock, but yet it still has the accessibility of Tears for Fears, U2, and INXS.

Nobody in the band handles more than their assigned share. Each responsibility is adequately fulfilled, but never overdone. This is where the band excels. The melodies and rhythms are rationed out with economic portions. There aren't unnecessary layers or gratuitous extras.

Jan H. Ohme sings with heart-wrenching lyrics.

Joining Jan is Thomas Andersen on keyboards, Jon-Arne Vilbo on guitars, and Roy Funner on bass. These musicians expertly handle their instruments. Rather than bombard the listener with a flurry of sound, their instruments are carefully plucked and patted with pinpoint precision.

As for the percussion elements, that's a whole different story than the rest. The music marches to the beat of a different drummer, literally. Robert R. Johansen technique is a hybrid between rock and jazz. There are even parts that readily invoke images of a drum line in a marching band. His contributions, especially matched with Roy's timing on the bass, make this album special.

Think Tears for Fears performing Pink Floyd's The Wall and you probably have a partial idea of When Earth Lets Go. To get a complete picture, you'll have to hear the album yourself. There are aspects to the music that are truly original. It isn't so much what they add to the music, but what they achieve with such a frugal formula.

Here is a rundown of what one can expect from the album:

"Intro" - The album starts with the sound of something being wound up. This is no analogy. The device turns out to be a gramophone. A scratchy old marching song is played on this antique contraption. Then it's replaced by undulating and mysterious noises. This all occurs in less than a minute. This isn't really a song, but mostly sound effects used to rope the listener in.

"Snowman" - This is the true beginning and it is probably the best song on the album. It is a great build-up that opens with a piano. A voice veers in with the rest of the traffic. The song is very emotional, both in the instrumentals and singing. The music is lead to a weird sequence that combines the spooky and operatic songs from Phantom Of The Opera with the quirky and patriotic theme from the A-Team series.

"Put It On The Air" - The pace dramatically changes. Pink Floyd's "Money" followed by a marching beat starts this track. This song will grow on you. It has a weird texture, yet uses a straightforward approach. The bridge is completely different from the chorus. However, the on and off ramps are smoothly paved. The song takes alternate routes while maintaining a consistent direction. The track never takes pause to get its bearings nor does it get stuck puttering out of gear.

"Souvenir" - The beat would be a welcome companion to Opeth's Damnation. The guitars and drums make it dark. The singing and keys illuminate the surrounding space.

"Steal Yourself" - Similar to the earlier track "Put On The Air," the drummer leads the rest of the group with a marching beat once again. Jan H. Ohme sings like Michael Hutchence from INXS.

"117" - Foghorns clear the way. A medley of R&B arrangements merges into the music. The chorus is tart and tasty while Jan's singing is superb.

"Beach House" - The rhythm really gets rolling in this one. It moves with the ease and grace of a jogger running downhill. Offsetting the bouncy beat from the guitars, bass, and drums is an animated keyboard. The background vocals from Jan are overdubbed at a much higher octave. While it doesn't quite sound like him and the harmony is somewhat out of key, it is awfully effective.

"Substitute For Murder" - Waves crash upon the shore. A piano is tapped like driftwood colliding with rocks. Jan's voice floats to the water's surface. The INXS vibe is alive and kicking.

"Dinglers Horse" - Bono takes center stage. While the whole album has the feel of U2 in places, it is probably most relevant in this song. The keyboards produce a foggy atmosphere. The guitar strums the opening theme found in all the James Bond flicks. The drums are tribal in nature.

"When Earth Lets Go" - Since this is a reprise of the first track, it is guilty by association. Using the clever compositions that opened the album, the song can't help being a strong piece. Mikael Kromer makes a guest contribution on the violins in this song. We return to the scratchy old marching tune that was played in the beginning. Then we are taken to the end of the line. Once the music comes to a complete halt, it is time to get off at the final destination. It won't be long before riders take the whole trip all over again.

If you like Blackfield or any of Stephen Wilson's tamer works, you may like Gazpacho. There is virtually no effort needed to grasp the music. When Earth Lets Go is a gulp of liquid vitamins. The fluids are readily absorbed into the system. The benefits are felt instantly. The music is sure to lift your spirits. The album is relaxing and dreamy. The intelligence comes from its delicate ways. Gazpacho uses minimalist methods that result in a truly extravagant experience.

Intro (0:46) / Snowman (4:26) / Put It On The Air (5:08) / Souvenir (3:37) / Steal Yourself (3:51) / 117 (6:22) / Beach House (5:06) / Substitute For Murder (5:53) / Dinglers Horses (4:35) / When Earth Lets Go (4:47)

Jan Henrik Ohme - vocals
Jon-Arne Vilbo - guitars
Thomas Alexander Andersen - keyboards
Roy Funner - bass
Robert Risberget Johansen - drums

Get It While It's Cold (2002) (OOP)
Bravo (2003)
When Earth Lets Go (2004)
Firebird (2005)
Night (2007)
Tick Tock (2009)
A Night At Loreley (2010)
Missa Atropos (2010)
London (2011)
March Of Ghosts (2012)
Demon (2014)
Molok (2015)

A Night At Loreley (DVD) (2009)
Night Of The Demon (DVD) (2015)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NO

Added: September 19th 2004
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website:
Hits: 1882
Language: english


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