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When they hear the terms “progressive rock” or “prog,” too many otherwise intelligent people think of ridiculous swords ‘n’ sorcery lyrics (fantasy is a common theme, but hardly the only one) and over-the-top instrumental solos more concerned with showing off the player’s music lessons than creating music. MAKAJODAMA is the prog band for those people. The members of the Swedish quartet keep their lips sealed, so no tales of dragons, magicians or cyberdoom. Also, any solos undertaken are done so with the idea of moving the melodic ideas forward, rather than relying on flash. There’s a pastoral atmosphere to these eight tunes, a certain deliberate pace that belies any need for frenzied musicianship. Revolving around a blend of guitars, bass, drums, violin and cello, songs like “The Ayurvedic Soap,” “Buddha and the Camel” and the noirish “The Girls At the Marches” leave plenty of open space, floating through the air with the deliberation of clouds in a steady wind. In other words, this isn’t EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER bombast – it’s closer to RETURN TO FOREVER in its subtler moments, the DIRTY THREE at its most ambitious or even AIR at its most melodic. Makajodama is beautiful stuff, a work of high craft and plenty of heart.
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