In The Labyrinth - Dryad

Year of Release: 2002
Label: TonArt Productions (TAP)
Catalog Number: TAP
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:31:00

In The Labyrinth's third release is the darker, more European sounding Dryad, though the Indian/Middle Eastern motifs do appear in as in "Out Of The Maze" and "Trident," the later of which features flute, sitar, and rubbery percussion, and yet at times there's also a Celtic feel to it. There is something that suggests revelry around a campfire, excluding the vocals that are heard just below the surface which also lend to this impression. Of course, the album's cover - artwork by multi-instrumentalist Peter Lindahl - also suggests this.

Dryads are wood nymphs - that is, mythical beings that inhabit the woods, like faeries and the like. Given that, you can see why there might be a more European flavor to the music. If you like Tempest, you will like this, though multi-instrumentalist Peter Lindahl is lighter of voice than Leif Sorbye, and the pieces here are wholly original compositions, rather than modern takes of traditional pieces. There are also more than a few hints at Pink Floyd, though I wouldn't go so far as to say influenced. Throughout, the performances are terrific, the pieces well crafted. And the production very crystalline, revealing a lot of depth, which helps on a release with this much texture and layers.

The album opens with the brief, acoustic guitar and sitar led instrumental "Lost In The Woods" which establishes some of the tone and tenor heard later in the album. "Out Of The Maze," which is more than likely a piece recorded in the Walking On Clouds sessions (Lindahl mentions on his site that many of the tracks were recorded at the same time), is mellowish, mid-tempo piece featuring Lindahl's soft, airy vocals accompanied by Helena Selander on vocals. It features also a very nice flute solo from Lindahl.

The darker textures begin with "Catch A Cloud" where rolling percussion leads into delicately plucked guitar and, I believe, mandolin. Listen carefully and you'll hear the crash of waves and the cawing of seagulls. The repeated refrain of the title at the end of this piece reminded me of an ethereal and ghostly Beach Boys. This ghostly feeling (sans Beach Boys harmonies) returns in "Night Of The Baskerville Killer" a piece that Lindahl composed with his brother Niklas (the closing track, the understandably somber "Farewell My Brother," is dedicated to Niklas) - a tale of a woman who has ventured out into the woods on a night she shouldn't have, "the night of the Baskerville killer."

My favorite track is the very dark, epic, gothic "Nargal," which also happens to be the longest piece at 8-plus minutes. The dark tones of the violin that open this piece suggest something very sinister, though quite a different character is brought in by the koto like tones that follow. What I find especially ? cool ? here is the percussion with its big, rich and rounded tones. Hearing bells toll at one point certainly emphasizes the dark nature of this piece. Oh, well, the explosions and eruptions and helicopters all suggest some catastrophic event.

"Dryad" in contrast is a lilting, atmospheric piece making me think of Tangerine Dream and Steve Roach at the same time. But there is also something very cinematic about it in feel, the way the arrangement unfolds. A church organ-like passage gives it a stately aspect while the lighter flute tones, chirping birds ? well it suggests peace and reverence for the darken wood, while "Trident," which follows, almost suggests the emergence of the dryads from where they are hiding. Feeling unobserved the prance about on a the lone patch of verdant grass where the trees are sparsely spaced enough to permit sunlight through. Though looking at the artwork, Lindahl imagines an even sparser and gloomier wood. With the crowing of the rooster, the dryads scurry back into their hidden homes as the "Jabberwocky" begins to roam. Here we might mention a hint of King Crimson, but there's a little more in the arrangement instrument wise than I associate with Crimson.

"Muscarin Madness" is a bit whimsical with a sinister undertone. It is the third of the four vocal tracks, the remainder being instrumentals, though "Deep Saffron" features a poetry recitation from guest Stefan Ottman and a new tone to the colour palette, a slightly twangy guitar sound. Although the cadence of the lyrics remind me, a bit of the The Hollies "Stop, Stop, Stop" (sorry to put that in your head), it otherwise seems like something Tempest might do, at least instrumentally.

This is a terrific release throughout, and one that I highly recommend, so do yourself a favor and seek this one out.

Also released/distributed by Record Heaven (RHCD 65)

Lost In The Woods (2:40) / Out Of This Maze (6:59) / Catch A Cloud (7:04) / Nargal (8:38) / Dryad (The Spirit Of The Woods) (4:14) / Trident (5:03) / Jabberwocky (2:44) / Muscarin Madness (4:54) / Deep Saffron (6:07) / Night Of The Baskerville Killer (6:41) / Farewell Little Brother (4:27)

Peter Lindahl - flutes, mellotron, vocals, chorus, electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, viola da gamba, zither, saz, samplers, fx, percussion, bass (7, 8, 9)
Häkan Almkvist - bass, electric guitar, sitar, tabla, fx, percussion
Fereidoun Nadimi - darbouka, daf
Helena Selander - vocals & chorus
Kristina Fuentes - chorus (3, 8)
Micke Lövroth - violin (4)
Ismet Demirhan - mei, zurna (7)
Stefan Ottman - recitation (9)

The Garden Of Mysteries (1996)
Walking On Clouds (1999)
Dryad (2002)

Genre: Other

Origin SE

Added: June 15th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1169
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]