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Black Fortress of Opium - Black Fortress of Opium

Black Fortress of Opium

Black Fortress of Opium

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Goth and then some, Black Forest of Opium treads the line between that, ethnic folk, and prog, moodily recalling Byronic modes in sketches, sonnets, and epics. The centerpiece is Ajda The Turkish Queen, singer and multi-instrumentalist, laconic and austere, BFO's music reflecting her wont. Backed by a spare threesome, the emphasis is on spaciousness and lament with occasional contrastive metallic barrages. Martin Bisi, producer and engineer, worked with Brian Eno, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, and an impressive list of outside musicians, choosing this quartet because of their unusual approach. Echoes of prog-period Strawbs, Shelleyan Orphan, and some of the 4AD roster stream throughout the release, but the air is that of a Renaissance doomsayer cabaret, not elaborate rock-oriented crunch and wail. Even the engineering's architecture reflects this, ushering in the small studio environment rather than oceans of reverb. Ajda's voice alternates between the listlessness of Goth (not always the best choice), wistful narration, and balladic ennui. Tony Savarino's guitar is a welcomely restrained influence, coloring rather than emphasizing, even resorting to the e-bow, a welcome device too little wielded in music. In sum, then, this is a disc for careful consumption, one where you have to be in a fickle state and desirous of fare to bolster a black cloud of despair while wishing for rain. Trust me, this ain't for everyone but start with Crack + Pool (reprise) and then cut back to the start of the CD. It'll set the mood best for the entire interconnected work.

Track List:

  • House of Edward Devotion
  • Black Rope Burns
  • Ari
  • Crack + Pool
  • Twelve Gross
  • Your Past
  • Model Cafe
  • Crack + Pool (reprise)
  • From a Woman to a Man
  • Dulcet TV

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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