Dr. Space’s Notes on Motorpsycho and Ståle Storløkken – The Death Defying Unicorn

This is the latest release by the creative Norwegians known as Motorpsycho. It is a double LP with a fantastic inside artwork, like nothing they have ever had in any of their other records. They are joined by keyboardist, Ståle Storløkken. They just keep progressing and really pushing themselves and challenging the norm.

This is a real progressive orchestral rock record. It is inspired by Owen Chase’s The Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex, In the heart of the Sea by N. Philbrick, and the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. It opens with a very special orchestral jazz ting that leads into the psychedelic rock monster, The Hollow Lands, with these cool orchestral sections that come in and out. It really rocks at times as well.

Through the Veil Part 1, starts with a really jazzy horn section (Trondheim Jazz Orchestra) and then a heavy bass line kicks in and the band really get a groove going with some cool guitar lines. Bent sings very confidently with a bit of effect on the voice. A little King Crimson like part comes in eventually as there is a lot of interaction with the horns. The keyboard solo at the end of this track is super cool. Great song.

Side B starts with Part 2. It starts intensely and then gets a bit bluesy and relaxed and spaced out with a solid bass line holding it all together. Doldrums is a short keyboard horn piece that is pretty spacey and leads into the song Into the Gyre. It is a pretty melodic normal track at first but then goes into Gentle Giant like material except for the intense violin soloing as the track really gets psyched out. Another short Storløkken compostion closes side B.

Oh, Proteus – A Prayer starts side C with a slow growing spacey mysterious orchestral piece but with vocals by Snah and Bent. Sculls in Limbo sounds like a monster crawling out of the sea to attack. La Lethe is mostly an orchestral piece with high emotional content as it slowly grows with some really cool horns. It takes a long time before the rock band takes over as they are a bit dwarfed by the large sound of the orchestra. At the end a fantastic sax solo is played as the mood of the piece really shifts towards a happy feeling. Oh- Proteus – A Lament is a very short piece bringing back the sound and feeling of the opening of the side.

Side D starts with the melancholy number Sharks, with nicely arranged horns and strings (Trondheim soloists 9 of them). It really grows over time and becomes very intense. Mutiny appears very abruptly out of Sharks and is another progressive hard rock track, which the record really needed at this point. It gets really cool with the orchestra battling with the horns who are taking on the drummer, who is really rocking. Into the Mystic brings things down again and closes the storybook with an uptempo track.

Musically they have really nailed it as far as bringing across a really emotional piece of music that you could easily see set to a play or movie. The live concerts on this tour will be pretty cool and special. Sorry I did not get to see any of them.

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