Exposé Online banner

Major Parkinson — Blackbox
(Karisma KAR136, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-30

Blackbox Cover art

If you’re fond of figuring out which musical boxes artists should go into, this Norwegian band will drive you nuts. They’re progressive rock, of course. Until they aren’t. Then they’re a cabaret from outer space, or a dance band from a 21st Century ocean liner, or something else equally non-boxworthy. Up front we have the unusual singing of Jon Ivar Kollbotn, with a gruff, somewhat sinister-sounding voice that sometimes descends into spoken words. It’s an example of low-gravelly tones that don’t sound like death-metal harsh vocals, but don’t sound like most male singers either. There are female vocals as well, with guest Linn Frøkedal’s pure, sweet tones providing a dramatic contrast to Kollbotn’s rumbling. Several other women contribute vocals, including the ten-member Volve Vokal ensemble. The instrumental side of Major Parkinson consists of seven members contributing keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, and violin; they are joined by a large cast of guests on strings, woodwinds, brass, and more. There are so many elements melded into the music that it’s hard (and probably pointless) to sort them out. In the more upbeat moments, they’re a little reminiscent of Cardiacs, and at other times it might be Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Tom Waits, Nine Inch Nails, or something off a big-sound movie soundtrack. In the wrong hands, it would sound overblown and indulgent, but Major Parkinson pulls it off. Blackbox is a great album that seems to exist in a world all its own.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Major Parkinson

More info
http://majorparkinson.bandcamp.com/album/blackbox

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...

Various Artists - Twentieth Anniversary – It's surprising that Rykodisc is still around, considering that the advent of digital recordings and CDs has now evolved and been relegated to old school. Since it is a year of anniversaries, Rykodisc...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues