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Echo (2015) , 5/10
Chronosome (2016), 6/10
Mosaismic (2019), 5/10
Plasma (2022), 6/10

Swiss combo Ikarus, formed by drummer and composer Ramon Oliveras (also the drummer of trio Punkt3), with vocalists Anna Hirsch and Andreas Lareida, pianist Lucca Fries and bassist Mo Meyer, was inspired by both prog-rock of the 1970s and Arvo Part's classical minimalism on Echo (2015), for example Sanctuary and Locrya. Harder to classify are the surrealistic eight-minute piano lieder Hotaru and City of Glass. Wordless singing is just another instrument.

The compositions are more sophisticated, and the interplay is more subtle, on Chronosome (2016). The Brazilian dance of Caliph becomes a musical bacchanal. Obscura is another danceable oddity, but this time it decays into lyrical nonsense. The spectral post-jazz soundscape of Holocene has an impressionistic quality. Ontake could be the soundtrack for a film noir because of the unnerving piano riff if it weren't for the cheerful wordless singing/chirping.

The music gets increasingly harder to define on Mosaismic (2019). The feverish piano pulsation of Meridian and the ethereal wordless lullaby Saiko lead to cryptic atmospheres via an almost invisible process of counterpoint and superimposition. A sense of mystery envelops the languid elegy Ikenophobia.

Plasma (2022) is a better organized and more consistent effort. Tritium (7:47) weds African chant and polyrhythm with minimalist piano. Sessapinae (9:57) hovers in between jazz, samba and minimalism with an endless parade of nuances and even psychedelic overtones (possibly the artistic peak of their career). Unfortunately the other three lengthy pieces don't amount to much.

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )