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Isildurs Bane - Mind Volume 1

Isildurs Bane - Mind Volume 1Almost 30 years from when the band began, I finally got around to hearing the music of Isildurs Bane, or should I say hearing and seeing the band in the form of their superb Mind Volume 5 DVD.  Clearly I have some catching up to do starting with this, the first in the band's 'Mind' series of works.

Mind Volume 1 was released in 1997 though the initial ideas were composed by IB's Mats Johansson back in 1993/94 when he was staying in Paris.  In fact there are a lot of ideas behind the concept,  the gist of which is the ratification of the band's past with it's onward development, sort of encompassing the new open-minded aspects (music, recording methods, technology) with the old.  The CD booklet lists the literature that was used 'extensively' by Mats during the process that resulted in Mind.

Those who are familiar with IB will know that band members can and have been different on individual albums.  The music on this album was composed with a specific line-up in mind.

I can see that it helps the listener to be 'in tune' with the band although anyone with a ever-so-slightly open mind (that word keeps cropping up) will soon settle in.  In a way, Mind Volume 1 has an experimental edge but not to the sort of extremes as, say, King Crimson.  There are many reasons why I enjoy listening to IB and at the top of my list is the terrific percussion which has featured on everything I have heard of theirs to date.  The musical collaborators on this one include what amounts to a mini orchestra with a variety of brass, woodwind and stringed instruments courtesy of a list of folk too long to list here.  There is a particular section towards the end of the album which caught me unaware.  That of  a running chess commentary.  I spent a minute or two trying to find where it was coming from before realising it was part of the album.

I know some people frown at the term but this is upmarket music for the serious music lover, but not without humour or accessibility.  Needles to say, it is out and out prog but with a mix of modernistic/contemporary and classical classical.  Let it dance amongst your brain cells and you'll find yourself in your own personal heaven.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Isildurs Bane



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