Exposé Online banner

Ars Nova — Seventh Hell
(Musea FGBG4831AR, 2009, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Seventh Hell Cover art

The opener “Seventh Hell” presents twelve minutes of intensely convoluted frantic bombast, busy and chaotic at every melodic intersection, though sensibly arranged; in short – exactly what one might expect from Ars Nova, very much in the vein of Italian horror movie soundtrack masters Goblin, though ratcheted up in complexity and presented with a more current sound. For those who haven’t kept up with Ars Nova over their last few releases, they are a quartet now, the band’s keyboard-and-drums heavy approach rounded out with bass and lead guitar, as well as several guests who join in on additional guitars, bass, and vocals on a few cuts. Still in command is keyboardist and chief composer Keiko Kumagai, the remainder of the band being all new faces since I last saw them in Baja around six years ago. Those vocals make their first appearance on the second track “La Venus Endormie,” which also introduces some Spanish folk flavor into the mix. Make no mistake, though, Ars Nova is still primarily an instrumental outfit, although the presence of multiple guitarists has taken some of the focus off the keyboards, and the sound is much more varied and interesting as a result. Also of note is the sidelong closing track, again mixing in some vocals, European folk styles, and tasty classical motifs, lifting the sound out that strictly Goblinesque groove. All taken this is among the best releases in Ars Nova’s oeuvre.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Ars Nova

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bob Lind - Elusive Butterfly - The Complete 1966 Jack Nitzsche Sessions – In the early sixties at the height of the folk boom, Denver based singer/songwriter Bob Lind was regularly working the coffee houses in the area, and later (as the local folk scene dried up) moved to...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues