Kopecky - Kopecky

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: HK9881
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:11:00

The debut album by Kopecky is, like their more recent Serpentine Kaleidoscope, filled with very dark and often angular music. Sounds grind and churn - heavy bass, percussion, guitar in very atmospheric swirls. Percussion is at the forefront, even if it isn't necessarily the percussion instruments making the sound. Both acoustic and electronic percussion are played by Paul Kopecky, while brother Joe plays guitar, tambourine, bells, and voice on the poem recited in "Birdsong The Color Of Pyramids" written by brother William, who plays bass, sitar, and keyboards. I'd say this is the pessimistic King Crimson - the more metallic King Crimson - if the more recent edition is the point of comparison.

The sonic mix is rich, whereby with repeated listening, little things you didn't hear on one play-through, you pick up on the next - shimmering cymbal accents here and there for example. Being mainly instrumentalists, Kopecky are able to let the arrangements fill in where a vocalist might be, making the music very dynamic. There's a movie to which this would make the perfect sound track, but it would have to be a very avant-garde, abstract, collage like film. Or maybe arty sequences like?well, like Miami Vice used to, say. Only it would have to be much grittier than that, more realistic. This though comes to me especially during the metallic hard "The Drowning Waters." In fact, for those metal-heads who like the energy and aggro of metal without a vocalist getting in the way, you'll find a lot to like in this track. One might want to mention Liquid Tension Experiment here - those sinewy bass lines of Levin are often echoed here.

There's a bass line during "Sky-Blue Hair" that so reminds me of the music once used in an American Airlines commercial, which I believe was Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue." It is a fat and warm bass sound, emanating from some place very deep.

Picking out favourite bits is hard, as there are so many. The percussion that opens "The Rise And Fall Of Stella Morbida" is cool, which is soon joined by keys, keening guitar?there is something martial and medieval about the rhythm. Again, I'd have to point to prog metal by way of comparison, though it's not your oh-so-stereotypical-now chugga-chugga. It takes that chugga-chugga and lets the keys and guitar do some wonderful soloing over it - subtle though they are. Actually, thinking of medieval music made me think of Henry V and the music Patrick Doyle composed for the Branaugh version of the tale and the galloping and epic swells of the theme music - that same tone and style is here.

"Sukha" and "Yama" bear some kinship in being sitar lead tracks, and both go from acoustic to rock, "Yama" being a bit more metal - here a lot like Liquid Tension Experiment I think. Mainly the bass, and for LTE it was Levin that was the standout (not to dis' the others, of course), and so that bubbly and liquid bass has become the signature LTE sound for me. But that's not to say that Joe's getting short changed here, as we get to hear from him an acidic guitar solo - Paul's percussion holding everything together.

"Birdsong The Color Of Pyramids" is very dark, very gloomy -- evoking a chilly, desolate place, where one's only companion the harsh, bright moon. "Autumn Swirl" is a bit playful, guitar singing in an almost happy singsong. With the dark bass bubbling underneath, there is a suggestion that all is not as up as it would appear. "Al Aaraaf" continues in a middle-eastern vein as "Sukha" and "Yama" before it, but with a different approach. This is smooth and silky, wind instrument-like keys (nothing so specific as any one instrument) that take the lead over heartbeat like percussion. The phrase "midnight at the oasis" comes to mind, but you won't find a coy Maria Muldaur here, but rather a feeling of the calm before the storm - the camels are restless, suspecting that with dawn something terrible comes. This sense of danger is created by the interesting guitar phrases, which pumps so rhythmically and yet leisurely, you could say they swirl. -- not quite like the drone of a digeridoo, but if you think about circular breathing and apply it to the guitar phrase, that's what I'm getting at.

All in all, this is a great debut album from the brothers Kopecky that deserves further exploration.

Crimson Crime 2-1-3 (4:43) / Sky-Blue Hair (5:43) / Sukha (3:18) / The Drowning Waters (6:14) / The Rise And Fall Of Stella Morbida (5:32) / Yama (7:53) / Birdsong The Color Of Pyramids (2:21) / Autumn Swirl (6:25) / Al Aaraaf (9:02)

Joe Kopecky - guitar, tambourine, bells, and voice
Paul Kopecky - acoustic and electronic percussion
William Kopecky - bass guitar, sitar, and keyboards
Chris Djuricic - finger cymbals

Kopecky (1999)
Serpentine Kaleidoscope (2000)
Orion - A Live Performance (2001)
Sunset Gun (2003)
Blood (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: March 6th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.kopecky.8m.com
Hits: 766
Language: english


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