Ring Van Möbius is a progressive rock act from Norway. They were formed in Karmøy in the year 2014. They released their debut Past The Evening Sun in 2018, which was followed by The 3rd Majesty in 2020. And now three years later their third album Commissioned Works Pt II - Six Drops Of Poison is released.
In the spring of 2021, the band were contacted by performer and choreographer Harald Beharie to write music for their next performance. It was called Batty Bwoy and the premiere was at Dansens Hus, Oslo.
The album that is now released is not the soundtrack per se. But a primal reflection of that result. When the band was freely researching the concepts they were going to set to music. But from the most absolute spontaneity. They were not yet subject to the proposed and commissioned concept. But free from that main idea. Hence the title Commissioned Works Pt II.
The demo recordings they made and the musical outcome of this commissioned work resulted in Ring Van Möbius's own version, titled Commissioned Works pt II: Six Drops Of Poison. The musicians who recorded the entire album are Thor Erik Helgesen (Spectral Modular Synthesis System, Hammond L100, Steinway grand piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Yamaha upright piano, Mellotron, lead & backing vocals), Dag Olav Husås (tubular bells, timpani, chimes, drums, glockenspiel, gong, cymbals, backing vocals) and Håvard Rasmussen (Danelectro Doubleneck 6-string bass, 12-string baritone guitar, Space Echo, Ring Modulator). With a line up like this it is obvious that a band such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer comes to mind. And that's music wise absolutely true.
On this album the musical three virtuosos, take the same winning elements from their previous albums. Their first album is heavily inspired by Van der Graaf Generator and ELP without any doubt. Their second album is much more a tribute to ELP completely. On this new opus the band combines the sounds of these two groups together with seventies King Crimson in a perfect way. But you can easily also add the names of bands such as Triumvirat, The Nice, Greenslade, Atomic Rooster, Refugee, Ars Nova or Trace to the list of bands that they sound like or are inspired by music wise. Why? Because the music is most of all dominated by keyboards. Keyboard oriented music all the way. The guitars don't get a chance on this album! If you like Hammond organs, Mellotrons and synthesizers all the way this is the album to look out for.
On this new album we have 12 short chapters but linked together and subtitled in divisions. it is advised to hear it in one go. From start to finish so to speak. The chapters explore a variety of sound universes and what you hear is of a very high level without any weak parts. The musicians are on top of their game which you can hear right from the start. Many times you hear compositions which might have been taken from ELP's Tarkus, Brain Salad Surgery or Trilogy because of a Keith Emerson style of keyboard sound. Or VDGG's Godbluff, Still Life or World Record because of a Hugh Banton kind of organ sound. Or even King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King. Mainly because of its beautiful Mellotron parts. For that reason a band such as Schicke, Fūhrs & Frohling comes to mind as well.
While reading all those references you might think that Helgesen's keyboards are the most important instrument throughout the entire album. Of course his playing dominates the sound on this album. However he would not achieve this high level without his strong rhythm section he can rely on. So not only thumps up for Helgesen but also for
Husas on drums and Rasmussen on bass. Together they made a fantastic album that's for sure.
This Norwegian trio has once again produced a magnificent opus which will be highly anticipated in the world of progressive rock. This third album of Ring Van Möbius is without any doubt one of the musical highlights of 2023. Highly recommended to those who are most of all into keyboard oriented progressive rock related to bands such as Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Triumvirat, The Nice, Greenslade, Atomic Rooster, Refugee, Ars Nova or Trace. But also for lovers of seventies bands such as King Crimson and Van der Graaf Generator. You will love it as much as I did!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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