Xcross — Kadath - The Dream Quest
(Ek Balam EBRCD001, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01
This ambitious concept album by Maryland duo Xcross is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath,” eleven purely instrumental tracks following a brief spoken intro, alternating light and dark (and very dark) elements of progressive rock, electronic, symphonic, and floating ambient, occasionally informed by bits of jazz and world music. While many projects of this type can weigh down and become overbearing, this one certainly does not; there is a good balance between dynamics, tempos, and timbres as the storyline progresses and its various elements unfold. This is an engaging listen from beginning to end, and wisely (without lyrics or narration) the music is left to speak for itself; even individual tracks are strong taken by themselves – this is that rare soundtrack with zero filler. The credits are a bit sketchy, but the two composers appear to achieve most of their ends using synthesizers and samples, with some percussion (possibly sampled) also. Every piece of the puzzle fits together superbly, and even without prior knowledge of Lovecraft’s tome, the story is conveyed precisely through the interpretive compositions and arrangements (though a summary of “Unknown Kadath” is provided in the booklet notes). Those into Lovecraft’s work and similarly inclined purveyors of dark imagery (think Frank Herbert’s Dune for example) should definitely check this one out.
Related artist(s): Xcross
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