Scandinavian Prog Rock legends Ketil Vestrum Einarsen (Jaga Jazzist, Motorpsycho), Rhys Marsh (The Autumn Ghost, Opium Cartel) & Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, White Willow) have joined forces as Kaukasus to record and release their outstanding debut album Kaukasus ‘I’ out on Autumsongs Records via Burning Shed on 05 May 2014.
Starting life as an experiment into Krautrock style, the project morphed into a fully fledged and modern sounding dark, Nordic, progressive rock album, with elements and excursions stylistically into Krautrock, art-rock, and world music calling into mind such bands as Japan, Genesis, Can, Brian Eno and early Peter Gabriel.
Kaukasus view themselves as a musical tripod — its weight firmly in the middle, where the three musicians ideas and styles meet, each band member bringing their own signature to the music, from Olsson’s supple and dynamic drumming and Mellotron textures, Marsh’s impassioned vocals and guitar work, to the strange, snakelike and evocative woodwind and synth lines from Einarsen.
‘I’ will be released on Compact Disc, in a mini-LP gatefold sleeve, with artwork by Henning Lindahl on 5th May 2014.
01. The Ending Of The Open Sky
02. Lift The Memory
03. In The Stillness Of Time
04. Starlit Motion
06. The Witness
07. The Skies Give Meaning
A first single, ‘Lift The Memory’ released on 7th April 2014, available on all digital & streaming services, precedes the album.
Source: We Do Band Stuff
More About ‘Kaukasus I’
Although based in different parts of Scandinavia, the trio trusted each other’s instincts without question. In fact, as the album was written and recorded in a such a short amount of time — only two weeks — it sounds like they were not only in the same room, but in exactly the same places in their minds and in their lives — the intensity and chemistry jumping from the speakers as the album begins.
Einarsen : “I haven ́t had this much fun in years. I loved working with Mattias and Rhys, and playing with them just felt right. I found myself sending them my stuff, only to get back something very unexpected, unpredictable and wonderful.”
Olsson echoes this vibe: “When it comes to long distance recordings it’s always a matter of trust. With Kaukasus I think we have found a great balance between form and chaos.”
Marsh adds “In many respects, this is the album that I’ve always wanted to make. It was fast and impulsive, and has an energy that couldn’t have been contrived. I was constantly surprised by the parts that Ketil and Mattias would send me”.
Kaukasus have delivered an incredibly cohesive album which will reward repeated listening, and Marsh and Olsson give further clues as to the ethos underlying the album:
Marsh “We really made an old-school album in a modern way, which gives the album an energy and vibrancy that I’ve rarely heard since the early seventies.”
Olsson “It was very important that it shouldn’t feel metric but have a very elastic rhythmic feel, which gives the recordings a sort of vintage feel and live ambience. We used minimal amounts of editing so that the dynamics in the songs are reflected in the energy in the playing. For a band who has never played together it’s one of the most live sounding prog albums I’ve heard in years.”
And when it comes to the songs, the sense of the unexpected carried through, as Rhys Marsh explains “The music took such a dark turn that the lyrics had to reflect that, so I took them into a dystopian world, coming up with a story which begins with the end of the world, which fuelled even further the urgency of the music.”
As for hopes for the album and the future for Kaukasus, Olsson once again delivers the verdict, “I think there was a sense of needing to catch the moment before it faded away or disappeared. No one asked us to do the album. Labels and managers didn’t create it and we’re all really happy with it so by that measure it’s already a success for us, regardless how it does commercially or review wise. I think we are already curious about the next one. This is not a flirty one-night stand, it’s a long term thing.”