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Thread: Featured Album: Thinking Plague - In Extremis

  1. #1
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured Album: Thinking Plague - In Extremis

    http://www.progarchives.com/progress...14102016_r.jpg


    Thinking Plague - In Extremis

    tp.jpg


    Tracks Listing:
    1. Dead Silence (4:00)
    2. Behold the Man (4:23)
    3. This Weird Wind (8:02)
    4. Les Etudes d'Organism (14:00)
    5. Maelstrom (3:32)
    6. The Aesthete (4:35)
    7. Kingdom Come (13:46)


    Line-up:
    - Deborah Perry / vocals
    - Mike Johnson / electric, acoustic, 12-string & lap steel guitars, synth, sequencing, co-producer
    - Shane Hotle / piano & synth (4,5,7), Mellotron (7)
    - Mark Harris / soprano, alto, tenor & baritone saxes, clarinet & bass clarinet, flute
    - Dave Willey / bass (1,2,5,6), accordion
    - Bob Drake / bass (3-5), violin (3,4), electric guitar & banjo (4), vocals (3), co-producer and mixing
    - David Kerman / drums, percussion

    With:
    - Kim Marsh / piano & synthesizers (1,2)
    - Scott Brazieal / piano & synthesizers (6)
    - Sanjay Kumar / synthesizers (3)
    - Rick Benjamin / trombone (4)
    - Katie Cox / violins (5)
    - Mike Fitzmaurice / double bass & erhu (6)
    - Kirk Jameson / bass (7)
    - Mark Fuller / drums (5)


    Here is what Eric Lumbleau had to say about it on Gnosis2000
    Amongst the vanguard of groups riding the crest of a largely unheralded contemporary avant-progressive tsunami, Denver's Thinking Plague stand out in bas-relief. Along with their equally breathtaking brethren in 5uu's (whose Dave Kerman & Bob Drake appear here), Thinking Plague remain utterly immune to the received prejudices that have obscured, marginalized and fostered an irrational resistance toward an idiom responsible for some of the 20th century's most significant musical achievements.

    Really, I can't conceive of how much harder you'd have to bludgeon the minds of the human race before what seems perfectly clear to me becomes apparent to the population at large. Namely, that the manner in which Thinking Plague and the aforementioned 5uu's (along with a select array of contemporary Japanese units) have condensed only the most fertile (and often the most pulverizing) aspects of the last 30 years of progressive exploration into an Nth degree endgame is nothing short of awe inspiring.

    On In Extremis (their first new release since 1989's seminal In this Life), these unsung geniuses have channeled the crushing fury of King Crimson, the existential angst of The Art Bears, the dense contrapuntal irregularity of Henry Cow and the pitch black angularity of Present into a disquieting concoction whose ceaseless paroxysms of unabated intensity and unnerving darkness are tempered only by "Les Etudes D' Organism"'s disturbed diversion into perversely cheerful and structurally perverse circus music.

    Awash as this is in such a relentless tide of headspinning complexity, it can initially seem a bit tricky attempting to gain purchase on such wildly shifting tectonic plates of sound. However, for those who enjoy rising to the challenge posed by the aggressively odd and densely composed, the feverish surfeit of spellbinding ideas investigated here are almost without precedent.

    (Originally published in Alternative Press #126, p.99, reprinted by permission)




    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  2. #2
    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    Great album and the first one that I ever heard from Thinking Plague.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

  3. #3
    I first heard Thinking Plague at NearFest 2000 after an aborted attempt to catch them in Lowell (a show at which I did get to hear the one and only performance ever of Amanda Palmer and the Void, her pre Dresden Dolls band... but I digress). That NF show pretty much blew my mind, and my wife's as well, and I probably purchased In Extremis at that time.

    I think there's some great stuff on this album, probably some of TP's best material. There are a few things that catch me about TP over a lot of other "avant rock" bands. They actually rock while avoiding getting too "squonky," and their songs have a direction that can be followed and remembered. I also hear a fair does of classic Prog in there, Gentle Giant is all over In Extremis, but others as well. So while the tonalities are sometimes a stretch, there's something in TP's music that makes it accessible and inviting.

    My knock on In Extremis is that I don't think the tracks are arranged that well. It's like Deborah Perry drops off the earth in the middle of the album. I wish she had something to do in This Weird Wind and Les Etudes d'Organism, or that they'd broken these songs apart. And compared to the rest of the record, I think Kingdom Come is a bit weak, so the album doesn't end on a high like it begins. For me, Moonsongs and In this Life are more solid and consistent listens. But what's good on In Extremis is extraordinarily good, and I don't personally feel anything they did afterward came close to striking such a fantastic balance of elements and excitement as this album.

    Bill

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    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Love this band. I think I've got every release and have a hard time choosing amongst my favorites. Wait, I don't have to! They're all great. Mike Johnson seems like a nice guy and has always graciously shared his thoughts and musical perspectives with those on this board.

  5. #5
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    A classic (nowadays) that propelled my tastes in prog forward in pretty profound ways. I'm too lazy to bust out the CD but "Dead Silence" contains one of my favorite moments of music ever....its in the middle after a slight break in the music, you know which part if you know this tune.

  6. #6
    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    I tend not to reach for this one as much as some others but I have all of the TP CDs. Their music is always interesting and passionate. My wife really likes Moonsongs from the Early Pague Years CD. Will have to revisit In Extremis.

  7. #7
    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    One of their best!

  8. #8
    My first, bought when they performed at Progday inside the Cat's Cradle (this was the first time the festival was chased indoors due to the weather). Their show in that dark room was utterly transcendent and still one of the most beautiful, memorable and haunting live sets I've seen at any Progday.

    While I do certainly like the album, it isn't my go-to album from them (that's a tie between Early Plague Years and History of Madness); however, it is forever tied to that amazing, wonderful show.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  9. #9
    I dig it.

  10. #10
    Does anyone else hears an Awaken Yes allusion in Weird Wind at around the 6min mark?

  11. #11
    I remember hearing this for the first time shortly after it came out. I was driving home from the record store with my good friend and co-Farpoint founder Rick; we were both staring at the CD player in bemusement. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not, but I didn't want to eject it. I asked Rick: "What do you think?" and he responded, "I don't know!" After a moment I said, "Do you like it?" and he replied, "I DON'T KNOW!"
    Soon after this we saw them live at ProgDay (1999? 2000?) and we were blown away. Whatever else to say about them, in my opinion you just have to give them hearty kudos for talent, creativity, and guts.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter"
    -Yoda

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  12. #12
    This is an absolute brilliant example of avant-prog.

    This ensemble is about as good as it gets in this sub-genre of prog.

    I remember reading a negative review of "A History of Madness", where the reviewer had the following to say, "How many 12-tone wankfests can we get through in one album?". I thought the reviewer was completely wrong in his review, but I sure had to laugh at that line.
    Last edited by simon moon; 1 Week Ago at 05:48 PM.
    And if there were a god, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence - Russell

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    Love it. Saw them live, soon after this was released.

  14. #14
    Casanova TCC's Avatar
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    Love the Plague and this is a favorite here too!

    Good call Trane!
    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

  15. #15
    The fact that Richard hasn't posted yet makes me fear for his life. Or maybe he writes a two page treatise right now that we're speaking.

    Of course this is a stellar record. I have things to say about it but I need to find the time and the right frame of mind.

  16. #16
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    It's not my favorite album of theirs, but Les Etudes d'Organism is my favorite song of theirs. And as such, I couldn't be without this one.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

    Never let good music get in the way of making a profit.

  17. #17
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    Does anyone else hears an Awaken Yes allusion in Weird Wind at around the 6min mark?
    I can't remember if it was me or someone else mentioning to Mike Johnson that there was a weird Yes-iness to their music and his response was something like "Thank you! I've been waiting for someone to pick up on that!"

    Anyways, I like this one a lot (and I'm not a huge avant/RIO nut). But I seriously have a problem with that cover now because it resembles the sky over most of the western US a little too closely!
    I'm holding out for the Wilson-mixed 5.1 super-duper walletbuster special anniversary extra adjectives edition.

  18. #18
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo Chang Ba View Post
    It's not my favorite album of theirs, but Les Etudes d'Organism is my favorite song of theirs. And as such, I couldn't be without this one.

    It's also mine on the album, but I couldn't find it on YT...

    FTM, I only found one of the shorter tracks - I suppose Steve had everything else taken down as soon as someone posts a track.
    A few weeks ago, I wanted to feature The Muffins' Mana/Mirage and again, I couldn't find more than one track, but even worse, I coudn't find live films including the tracks of that album.
    Last edited by Trane; 1 Week Ago at 08:36 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  19. #19
    I'm actually kind of surprised you hunted for videos, yet didn't include this: https://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/in-extremis
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  20. #20
    Member Steve F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    It's also mine on rthe album, but I couldn't find it on YT...

    FTM, I only found one of the shorter tracks - I suppose Steve had everything else taken down as soon as someone posts a track.
    A few weeks ago, I wanted to feature The Muffins' Mana/%irage and again, I coulmdn't find more than one track, but even worse, I coudn't find live films including the tracks of that album.
    You poor thing.
    Steve F.

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    please add 'imo' wherever you like, to avoid offending those easily offended.

  21. #21

  22. #22
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by battema View Post
    I'm actually kind of surprised you hunted for videos, yet didn't include this: https://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/in-extremis
    mmmhhh!!! didn't think of using BC, because traditionally it's always been YT links on featured album.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    You poor thing.
    Since you wear it as a badge of honour...

    "You run a great label, but you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    Attachment 14387


    ps: .... and I'm not adding any "IMHO" siffle.gif
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  23. #23
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    Not my usual cup of tea but DAMN this album is killer!!!
    Prog's Not Dead

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    mmmhhh!!! didn't think of using BC, because traditionally it's always been YT links on featured album.



    Since you wear it as a badge of honour...

    "You run a great label, but you go out of your way to be a jerk." - Jed Levin

    Attachment 14387


    ps: .... and I'm not adding any "IMHO" siffle.gif
    IMHO

    Perhaps less emphasis should be on links to YouTube videos and more emphasis should on helping direct interested listeners to sources of information that might, just might, help support the bands whose music we so early want to feature on this site. Especially since this is an official feature that represents PE as a whole rather than the actions/choices of some individual poster in a separate thread.

    IMHO.
    If you're actually reading this then chances are you already have my last album but if NOT and you're curious:
    https://battema.bandcamp.com/

    Also, Ephemeral Sun: it's a thing and we like making things that might be your thing: http://www.ephemeralsun.com

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    I can't remember if it was me or someone else mentioning to Mike Johnson that there was a weird Yes-iness to their music and his response was something like "Thank you! I've been waiting for someone to pick up on that!"
    yes, of course. But my remark is more specific. It's this guitar theme that first appears at around 4min of The Weird Wind, then dominates the scene from 5.45 for approximately one minute. This is a clear nod to Awaken in my opinion. Mike, Bob? Anyone?

    This Weird Wind is a total slayer btw. Followed by Les Etudes, you get the feeling that there is an irrepressible flow of devilish inspiration with these people.

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