PROTAGONIST: SONGS OF EXPERIENCE
CD: Cold Meat Industry CMI153 
Spirits of the Dead
La Finé de la Journée
how many years has it been again? Seven? Possibly slightly longer…this
being the year of our Lord 2006...so let’s call it 7+ years to put
it into perspective. That’s a long time since the critically acclaimed
debut release "A Rebours"; but Magnus Sundstrom has been a very
busy, busy boy. Setting up the Fin De Siecle Media record label and releasing
acts as diverse as Moljebka Pvlse, L.E.A.K., Akala, Negru Voda, Contrastate…some
of which you’ll find reviewed on this site…and many others
has taken up most of that precious time. Not only that but he put out
his own releases under the Des Esseintes name…again to be found
reviewed on here…and very positively at that it must be reiterated.
After such a barren period of inactivity on all things The Protagonist
will "Songs of Experience" be a Cassius Clay / Mohammad Ali
grand comeback or an Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards fall from grace
into the snow?
Featuring eight tracks, some of which are re-workings from earlier rare
compilation pieces and the rest new compositions, the music veers towards
the darker edges of Neo-classical with nods towards the great literary
writers Blake, Shakespeare and Baudelaire. Light and frothy make no appearances
here. "Songs of Experience" is a serious endeavour where romantic
visions are eventually crushed asunder to be replaced by the black cancer
of frailty and despair. Any joyous moments are rendered obsolete by the
funeral march accompaniments which reign above all. The stirring strings
and other classical instruments are brought fully into the fray as the
percussion acts as the backbone onto which the meaty flesh of the music
is carefully laid layer by precious layer. The highly charged atmospheres
written large across the whole recording. Such is the sheer magnificence
of this recording that poets, past and present, would struggle to put
into words sentences to do it justice. Reminding me of Puissance, minus
the monotone delivery of the words, in places (the strong martial flavoured
fragments making their presence felt throughout) "Songs of Experience"
is an opulent gargantuan recording from Magnus and marks a welcome return
to this dynamic Neo-classical performer so long off the scene musically.
Absence ultimately does make the heart grow fonder.
Protagonist] / [Cold Meat
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