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Monday, June 11, 2012

Gazpacho

London (Kscope) & March of Ghosts (Kscope)

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Years ago, rock bands released an album a year, sometimes more. In a throwback to another era, Norway's Gazpacho issued three records in 18 months—including the double-disc live set London and the character-driven seventh studio album March of Ghosts.

London
captures the sextet on tour in support of 2011's haunting concept album Missa Atropos and bridges the gap between Porcupine Tree and Radiohead. This moody recording sums up Gazpacho's career to that point, drawing heavily from Missa Atropos and its two immediate predecessors, 2009's Tick Tock and 2007's Night, while also clearing the slate for March of Ghosts.

That collection of lush, mostly subdued musical short stories revolves around ghosts that include Haitian war criminals, the lost crew of the Mary Celeste and an English comedy writer falsely accused of treason. Haunted by shimmering piano, mournful strings and Jan-Henrik Ohme's gentle, mesmerizing vocals, March of Ghosts allows Gazpacho to stretch like never before—especially on the four-part “Hell Freezes Over,” spread intermittently across the entire 50-minute album. Celtic rhythms, metallic riffs, precise percussion and unexpected sonic splashes of tin whistle, banjo and accordion combine with Gazpacho's signature flavors to create a surreal listening experience.