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Qadesh - Experiment In Psychodrama


A small number of bands have emerged in the last year or two that have broken away from the ’neo prog’ tag (and I like a lot of neo-prog before you start a barrage of defensive comments) and have rediscovered the roots of the inventiveness that came about in the early sixties and seventies.  Bands such as King Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant and Gryphon managed to tangle with the elements of classical, jazz, fusion, folk and rock, juggle harmonies and discords, producing their own distinctive sound that, certainly in the early years, required the listener to be actively involved in order for the music to be totally appreciated.  Emerging bands following this tradition include Thieves’ Kitchen, Sphere³ and now Qadesh.

Qadesh have yet to release a CD but have a downloadable MP3 available from their website (details at end).

Qadesh’s music by its nature is very difficult to describe using words and, like all music, should be listened to in order to gain an accurate assessment.  There are so many elements and sounds that I don’t quite know where to start.

On first listen, my immediate thoughts turned to Gryphon in terms of classical influence and arrangements (Midnight Mushrumps?).  No crumhorns here though!  Using a rolling light melody, they incorporate breaks of discordant notes ala Gentle Giant via violin, then the tempo changes starting with a Yes style guitar break and I swear I can hear a Caravan sounding keyboard (think the fast section of For Richard?) over the marginally dominant piano and frenetic yet superbly accurate percussion.  If that isn’t enough, there are occasional vocal breaks of “It’s only rock and roll to me”, lyrically concise enough for the instrumental lover to accept but also necessary to provide a return to the original tempo.  All in all, these are musicians with that rare combination of technical ability and creativity.  Not only that but the old solo cliché is non-existent – they perform as an ensemble that complements each other, not as individuals trying to outgun one another.  Odd time signatures are a speciality.  Salivating yet?

Details of band personnel are well documented on the Qadesh website so I won’t list them all here – go check it out and download the demo.  All I will say is that the band are based in London, UK, and have a wide background in music and cultures.  Maybe future works will include some Didgeridoo, rare but not unheard of in the prog world.

Wllyam-Daevid Harbottle (keys and vocals) has informed HHH that the band should be back in the studio at the end of the month (Jan 2002) to record another more vocal track (really two segued tracks - S.A.D. & Progeny of 'My Logical Housemate'), which will be 12 minutes or so in length.  A release date for an album has yet to be set and the band are concentrating on building their repertoire for the time being.

I feel that, some time in the future, maybe a second or third album could consist of just one long track made up of segued pieces (like Camel’s The Snowgoose but in a different vein) as I am sure they can carry it off.  Meanwhile, Qadesh have a gig lined up in Kingston Upon Thames in March (see Gigs for details) along with another Hairless Heart Herald favourite, Thieves’ Kitchen.  This is one gig I can highly recommend if you can make it.

Qadesh website

Jem Jedrzejewski

 (Photos courtesy of Qadesh)


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