Thonk - Earth Vision Impact

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Galileo Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Thonk is a keyboard based trio on the fledgling Galileo Records label. Galileo is home to other new and very interesting bands in the prog circuit including Metaphor (wonderful CD) from California and Scythe from Germany. Thonk hails from Switzerland.

Thonk's sound, as formulated by Marc Grassi on keys, Fredy Schnyder on bass and guitars, and Flavio Mezzodi on drums, is a hybrid of power key trios spawned and influenced by the likes of ELP. Definitely this CD will appeal to keyboard aficionados who don't mind the underplaying of guitar in instrumental progressive rock.

Thonk's greatest gift is the care Grassi takes in varying the sound of his keys. Though the lush symphonics of a lot of Japanese keys, bands like Gerard and Ars Nova are always present, I love the abundance of acoustic piano-driven songs. The band gravitates at will, and within each song between the wispy synth of space and the psychedelic, a stone hard gothic church organ, furious fusionesque synths, and odd mellow moments of piano.

The short and calm "Sulm" starts things off as a prelude for "Thonkland," which is defined by a post ELP/ neo Ars Nova sound. Though Thonk doesn't show off as much as the formerly mentioned bands, and perhaps aren't as articulate, their dedication to crafting finely honed keyboard prog is strongly evident.

I like tracks 3 and 4 especially. "Square Root" has a bit of everything in it, spanning so many musical styles as possible in less than 6 minutes. "Pomme" starts out slow, with a firm, steady piano leading us through a backwash of spacey synthesizer. It's mellow and melodic structure holds until about halfway through its eight minutes in length where the song starts to build on an atonal, minimalist counter-melody. We have evidence of acoustic guitar and many inventive synthesizer sounds.

"Insharp" seems a bit repetitious of the previous track to my tastes but many will like the bombarding piano chords that fuel the body of the song. Again, that creative use of analogue synth adds new textures to the song. Halfway through, the song mellows and changes with the introduction of some more tasteful acoustic guitar. Schnyder has a talent for incorporating an instrument that one normally doesn't find in this style of music.

"Garden" is 8 and a half minutes of pure keyboard fusion prog. If you like Gerard and Ars Nova, you will love this track. There's sweeping keys, melodic bass, steady drumming, and strange changes that catch you off guard, but are nonetheless effective.

Such a mellow and beautiful opening can be found in "Ela." Another 8-minute plus song, this is wrapped in piano and sentimental acoustic guitar and creates a languid, pastoral mood. Two minutes later we're thrown right into the vortex of a passionate change of tempo. It's my favorite song and grows with each listen.

"Rak," the last track, as the title suggests, is the most spacey, psychedelic of the lot. But within its strange Tangerine Dream textures, an acoustic guitar weaves in and out. The song erupts into another Ars Nova tour-de-force, but like all the other songs on this CD, finds ways to evolve, change and transform into many things before it's done. I think I also heard some harpsichord samples here.

To be honest, Thonk is a fairly complex work that needs repeated listening to appreciate. Though Thonk as a trio are not the most virtuoso players out there, they are immensely creative bunch. They also harbor an eclectic talent that embraces many styles and moods.

And oh, by the way, it's co-produced and engineered by Pär Lindh. Enough said.

Thonkland / Square Root / Pomme / Insharp / Garden / Ela / Rak

Marc 'Rak' Grassi - piano, keys, mellotron
Fredy Schnyder - guitars, bass
Flavio Mezzodi - drums, percussion

Earth Vision Impact (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CH

Added: July 18th 2001
Reviewer: RIPZ

Artist website:
Hits: 1229
Language: english


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