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Thread: Featured Album: Rational Diet - On phenomena and existences

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Featured Album: Rational Diet - On phenomena and existences

    https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a1109161054_16.jpg

    Rational Diet - On phenomena and existences


    diet.jpg


    Tracks Listing:
    1. Sleep is teasing a man (4:34)
    2. Human life in the wind (4:14)
    3. Somebody in the spacious tail-coat (2:53)
    4. Unexpected feiertag in chemnitz (1:05)
    5. A man went to sleep (4:26)
    6. Chamber illuminated by the dark lamp (1:46)
    7. Bet on a marked card (2:09)
    8. In the late summer (1:49)
    9. Living the main life (5:49)
    10. Private secrets of machine (3:08)
    11. Weimar period (1:46)
    12. The end of the almshouse (2:24)
    13. Passacaglia in beautiful and furious world (5:05)
    14. In five steps (5:22)

    Line-up :
    - Vitaly Appow / reeds
    - Cyrill Christia / violin
    - Dmitry Maslovsky / bass
    - Anna Ovchinnikova / cello
    - Olga Podgaiskaja / piano, organ, voice
    - Nikolay Semitko / drums
    - Maxim Velvetov / guitar

    Here is what Assaf Vestin (AKA Avestin) had to say about it on ProgArchives:
    A rational and well-balanced diet

    Not many bands manage to astonish me with how they progress and evolve from album to album; little opportunity do I get to hear bands that while keeping their core sound and style, are able to bring something new into their palate, produce an updated aural image of themselves.

    Rational Diet is one such group.

    I've read that this band's music poses a challenge to some listeners, a barrier of disharmonic noise and orchestral chaos. I for one hear magical harmony, mysterious and eerie ambiance and highly calculated and intricate composition, arrangements and stellar musicianship. The production is also of high quality and brings forth all the small details and intricacies that can easily get lost in such a rich and layered album.

    Rational Diet's music has a diverse range of sounds. From ominous and disharmonic sounding sections to more rock-oriented segments, from slow and relatively calm to a chaotic-like frenzy-driven rhythmic bit. Their music is such that it's eerie, sharp and in-your-face one minute and then it gradually morphs into a softer-edged sound with a more harmonic nature. This album presents a variety of these sounds, much like a diverse and well-balanced diet. Each of the 14 compositions on the album presents varied and distinct pace, mood and approach, all unified by the band's sound and playing. This array of templates is at times applied in one song (Sleep Is A Teasing Man, and Passcaglia In Beautiful And Furious Worlds are two examples).

    Moreover, the instruments themselves are wisely used to achieve this effect, as the violin is usually the lead "offensive" and abrasive sounding instrument while the piano and organ serve the opposite end and the rest serve both "camps" as needed. This group does a wonderful job of composing modern classical music and presenting it in a rock-like setup.

    Some of the pieces on the album, poems of sorts, show an interesting development for the band; A Man Went To Sleep, Sleep Is Teasing A Man and In Five Steps are such songs. These have a more intimate and exposed feeling to them in the sung parts, though they also contain the instrumental frenzy that characterizes the group. The other tracks are prime example of this group's playing prowess and arrangements skills. Take for instance Bet On A Marked Card. Rational Diet takes a theme, layer it with all their instrumental lineup, add a second thematic section to which the melody shifts, play it fast and furious and the result is a bombastic musical punch to the face. What I find most admirable here is the writing for each instrument and adding it all up to fit together and achieving harmony between them and one effective sounding musical short piece. Another feat I appreciate is that they write mostly short and succinct pieces and don't linger on unnecessarily. I would however, like to hear how they would tackle a longer composition, how would they construct and arrange it (they had longer pieces in earlier albums but I'd like to hear what they would write now).

    A feature I find wonderful in their music and in this album in particular is the interplay between the instruments. Take for instance, track 10, Private Secrets of Machine; hear how the violin and piano interact, pose each other a phrase and the other answers or counteracts it. All the while, the drums provide a propulsive beat, maintaining suspense and tension, aided by the bassoon and guitar. Some would probably say that at some point, the violin and piano lines become just random babblings, aimless meanderings; however, I hear carefully composed opposing streaks of melodies. These may sound disjointed at first, but upon repeated listening will reveal their "intention" and projected melodic paths unveiling their magic.

    I must say a good word about the production, which provides a clear and crisp sound in which I'm able to hear all the instruments, even those whose volume is such that they tend to be at the back of the mix and both low and high ends are heard well in this recording.

    On Phenomena And Existences is a dense, odd and intense listening experience. This is an album that requires full attention to grasp all of its richness as well as small intricacies. I find it to be a wonderful step forward in the band's output, a great follow-up to their previous release, At Work.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Lovely album, their best.
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
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  3. #3
    ^ Yes, this was one is very, very good. There's strong material and atmosphere and playing on all of their three releases, but production values exceed here and there's a somewhat more "natural" flow and dynamic to proceedings. A great place to start with them.

    Fascinating to know how young they were.

    I need to spin this tonight.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  4. #4
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    My love for avant prog started really with the rise of the Altrock label. The first Yugen and Rational Diets 'At Work' were two of the first avant prog albums I grew to love. When this album came out it simply blew me away. Such intensity paired with an amazing flow between songs. No senseless noodling; just amazing tunes on steroids. This band was ON FIRE! I am very sad that I never got to see them live.

    I can barely describe how much I love this album. One of my all time favorites.

  5. #5
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    LOOKIT TRANE - Using the new Bandcamp embed function!!







    (Trane was the person who prompted us to make that available in PE )

    It's pretty cool, IMO.
    Regards,

    Duncan

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Yeah, but you did all the work, and you really slammed it, Dunk!

    .
    Last edited by Trane; 1 Week Ago at 07:29 PM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  7. #7
    You just knew this feature would evoke a landslide of response, erh?
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    You just knew this feature would evoke a landslide of response, erh?
    I was going to post that it's in one of the stacks, but hasn't been listened to yet, and then I thought that is irrelevant and adds nothing to the thread, so I didn't.
    He did not know that the sword he'd hold, would turn his priceless empire into fool's gold...

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  9. #9
    This is one of the highlights of the Altr0ck catalogue (though to be fair, it’s a catalogue that’s about 50% highlights) and a benchmark in this strain of chamber prog - where the emphasis is heavily on the “chamber” part of the equation. For me it’s up there with Salle Gaveau, Hyvaluoma Group and the best of Aranis.

    Also when the band crashed both the new groups that emerged from the wreckage, Five Storey Ensemble and Arkestra, were very strong.
    Last edited by Mascodagama; 1 Week Ago at 12:05 PM.
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    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    I do prefer their S/t and At Work, but this is a very strong release just the same.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

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  11. #11
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    You just knew this feature would evoke a landslide of response, erh?
    I was hoping the seemingly numerous RIO-Heads of the site would respond, but alas...
    I do try to please all prog-spectrum ends in my choices.

    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    I was going to post that it's in one of the stacks, but hasn't been listened to yet, and then I thought that is irrelevant and adds nothing to the thread, so I didn't.
    Perfect time to pull it out of the shelf, spin it and give us feedback, wouldn't you say?
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    the seemingly numerous RIO-Heads of the site
    Who are just as seemingly defined as follows; Someone who apparently knows all the 'classic' prog bands yet for some incomprehensible reason still chooses to support artists/music which doesn't as a binding rule pay homage to any of those 'classic' acts but rather goes its own way, as if those 'classic' acts were somehow in any way beatable or shouldn't be seen as representing the absolute possible apex of virtuosity and creativity in human/rock history.

    Let's face it; we're all over the place, literally swirming'n'swarming. And we've come to infiltrate the charge of every single operative thing, thus imposing our regime of blunt repression on those already oppressed by the phantom of punk'n'dunk.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    My love for avant prog started really with the rise of the Altrock label. The first Yugen and Rational Diets 'At Work' were two of the first avant prog albums I grew to love. When this album came out it simply blew me away. Such intensity paired with an amazing flow between songs. No senseless noodling; just amazing tunes on steroids. This band was ON FIRE! I am very sad that I never got to see them live.

    I can barely describe how much I love this album. One of my all time favorites.
    I'm so glad to read this! My bests guys!
    Last edited by Marcello; 1 Week Ago at 09:10 AM.

  14. #14
    It's quite good, but nothing truly exceptional in my humble opinion. Production and playing is great, but in its essence nothing that shakes my world.

  15. #15
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    My love for avant prog started really with the rise of the Altrock label. The first Yugen and Rational Diets 'At Work' were two of the first avant prog albums I grew to love. When this album came out it simply blew me away. Such intensity paired with an amazing flow between songs. No senseless noodling; just amazing tunes on steroids. This band was ON FIRE! I am very sad that I never got to see them live.

    I can barely describe how much I love this album. One of my all time favorites.
    I was very much the same with Cuneiform and Altrock when I started exploring avant around a decade ago. I think the first ones I picked up were Yugen, Rational Diet and Aranis. All terrific stuff. Those two were pretty much the first point of call along with Soleil Zeuhl when I started.
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Let's face it; we're all over the place, literally swirming'n'swarming. And we've come to infiltrate the charge of every single operative thing, thus imposing our regime of blunt repression on those already oppressed by the phantom of punk'n'dunk.


    Well I, for one, welcome our new RIO overlords.

  17. #17
    Member Camelogue's Avatar
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    Not sure I want to listen when the music is described a noise and chaos?

  18. #18
    ^ Then don't listen. No one ever said it's for everyone, and even fewer said that everything should always be for everyone.

    Still it's fine to pop in merely to write that one is not sure about wanting to listen when the music is described as noise and chaos. I've heard some folks screaming at having to hear "prog" and various classical composers too, as this to them makes for nothing but noisy chaos. Yet apparently they didn't feel the need to announce their reactions in advance, no matter the description.

    We usually like what we do and "get" what we like, so there's no crime involved in dislike.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camelogue View Post
    Not sure I want to listen when the music is described a noise and chaos?
    That may, in part, describe why there are relatively few respondents on album threads such as this one. Not everyone is into noise and chaos and to announce your reactions in advance is certainly acceptable. I refrain from commenting on album features that don't sound at all interesting to me, based on the samples provided. That way you avoid being criticized for not being into that particular kind of musical expression. To each their own.

  20. #20
    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    I totally respect the views of those that love this music. I keep trying, honestly. Listened through fully on five tracks. I can see there is musical talent but this album is just not for me. I am going to keep trying.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

  21. #21
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    I do not hear any noise nor chaos on this album. Just fantastically composed tunes.

    Dissonance? Yes.

  22. #22
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    I do not hear any noise nor chaos on this album. Just fantastically composed tunes.

    Dissonance? Yes.
    Yeah, seriously.

    I get not liking it, but to think this is noise and/or chaos is just factually wrong.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

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

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    Dissonance?
    But not the kind which they should have learned from the Apex Untouchables. Thats's the important thing; to express the correct references which uphold the narrative of who's best and consequently who's to follow - namely the ones which make up our own given listening identity. That was always what 'progressive' was all about; not to develop or evolve or move on or anything like that, but to tell -ME- that what -I- already know and like is the valuable thing, so that my existence may appear a bit more meaningful and coherent and, y'know, interconnected.

    History and etymology might take a second seat, or rather not at all. The fact that even "noise" has been fully accepted as music for more than half a century doesn't count here. Nor the factor of subjective relativity, for instance a notion that an average fan of Peter Tosh might find the entire output of Genesis/Yes a complete dump of noisy chaos.

    Quote Originally Posted by SunRunner2 View Post
    That may, in part, describe why there are relatively few respondents on album threads such as this one. Not everyone is into noise and chaos and to announce your reactions in advance is certainly acceptable. I refrain from commenting on album features that don't sound at all interesting to me, based on the samples provided. That way you avoid being criticized for not being into that particular kind of musical expression. To each their own.
    "Threads such as this one"; in other words, threads on artists "we/I" don't know or get or can't relate to since it doesn't consciously aim at what "I" would like it to be.

    It's even kinda surprising how "rock" was ever allowed to leave the stage of Bill Haley & His Comets.

    For what it's worth, "Threads such as this one" actually used to pull in contributors with a certain sense of overarching pedigree in listening, but alas they're mostly gone we're basically back to square one. Not Bill Haley but Chuck Berry. Nothing wrong with that, as I really like Chuck, and I mean, we've always got Wobbler to be keep us informed on the contemporary/modern side of things.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  24. #24
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Somehow, I'd have at least expected the guys who saw then at RIO Festival 2010 to chime in



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

  25. #25
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Certainly not noise and chaos, highly composed and dissonant, yes. I get that lots of people don't like it, there's lots of stuff I don't like. There's a small group of avant fans on here and I'm personally glad they are still here as they heavily inform my purchases every year. I don't know where I'd find half this stuff otherwise.
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

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