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It took six years to complete Half A True Day, and Biota's sixth album rings like a continuous piece that is subdivided into reference points or placeholders. Nonetheless, the large ensemble's singular permutations of prog-rock and dream-laden swashes of layered textures are glowingly iterated here. It's an acoustic-electric brew featuring the use of unorthodox instrumentation, where the band incorporates Moog synths, strings, accordion, horns and other tools of the trade into a multifaceted feast for the mind's eye.
The program consists of subliminal deviations and passages that might intimate a shrouded dream that is offset with piercing rays of light. With rumbling rhythmic frameworks and fractured themes that intersect the variable parameters, the band's music-making summon notions of an expanding and contracting balloon. However, where many others would most assuredly fail in these instances, this unit owns the patent.
On "Proven Within Half Half a True Day, the sounds and mode of execution conjure up notions of murky waters and a sense of submersion, mingled with hazy voices. Their cunning sound-sculpting artistry and unorthodox compositional underpinnings indicates a lucid and rather scrambled sense of escapism that confounds the psyche. It's largely about imagery and sensation, which of course connotes a staple of the ensemble's design parameters. And they merge a sense of antiquity via the acoustic and, at times, folksy ingredient with interlacing effects and ethnocentric implications of various flavors and tones. It's a musical entity like no other.
Track Listing: Figure Question; Pack-and-Penny Day; Hidden Compartment; Angle of Doubt; Proven; Within Half Half a True Day; Accidental Photograph; Winding Nth; Moth Across; Silent Grove; Just Now Maybe; Another Name; Turn the Moon; Globemallow, Left Untold; Cloud Chamber; Where No One Knows; Antimagnet; Passerine.
Personnel: Kristianne Gale: voice; Tom Katsimpalis: guitars, Clavioline; Gordon Whitlow: accordion; Steve Scholbe: rubab; Mark Piersel: guitar; William Sharp: electronics, mix; Randy Yeates: keyboards; David Zekman: violin, mandolin; Charles O'Meara: piano; Randy Miotke: Fender Rhodes, editing; James Gardne: flugelhorn; Andy Kredt: guitar; Rold Goranson: electronics, voice; Steve Emmons: electronics; Larry Wilson: percussion.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.