DISEN GAGE - The Big Adventure

Disen Gage - The Big Adventure

8 songs
46:17 minutes
***** ****


I have had the pleasure to know Disen Gageís music since the very beginning, in 2004, when the Russian instrumental progressive rock band released their debut album The Screw-Loose Entertainment. From there, the band became more and more experimental, with their albums from 2017 (Hybrid State) and 2018 (Nature) offering purely improvised sounds respectively field recordings. As interesting as these later recordings were and still are, I was nonetheless pleased to learn that in order to celebrate their twentieth anniversary as a band, they would release a more song-based album, the way they did in their early days.

Now Disen Gage act again as a full-fledged band, unlike recently when it was more like guitarist Konstantin Mochalov seemingly jamming with friends. I am also happy to say that The Big Adventure is also the bandís best and most memorable album to date. The opener Shiroyama is a two-and-a-half-minute opener. At first you might expect another experimental album, but the following quasi title track Adventurers shows the band from its catchiest and wittiest side. At first the song is carried by guitar, bass and drums, feeling a little like a circus tune, but soon an accordion joins in, adding a French flair in the style of their musette music. Chaos Point comes with a trumpet part, before a half-classical / half jazzy piano parts adds a Gershwin touch, and then later we get Crimsonesque guitars for the progressive mood. Enough is a sedate ballad with some melancholic cello parts, and thatís it for the albumís first half.

The second part of The Big Adventure is where the band takes us on a veritable madcap ride through some crazy universe. All The Truthsí Meetings feels like progressive rock and polka clashing heads with each other, and the Ė albeit synthesized Ė tuba rhythm part adds to the general craziness of this funny song. More unexpected crossovering happens on Selfish Tango, at seven and a half minutes one of the albumís longer tracks. The vibraphone part may recall early Violent Femmes, but later this strange piece of music mixes prog rock with authentic tango melodrama without batting an eyelash. And because one can never get enough of weird music, we are treated with Carnival Escape, at nine minutes the longest piece featured here. This track conjures a creepy carny atmosphere and might have been something Mike Patton could have thought of. The album ends with Fin, and it actually feels like one of those old French arthouse movies ending in black-and-white, with the credits scrolling down and saying goodbye to the audience.

After a couple of experimental albums, itís nice to hear that Disen Gage not only can still write more accessible songs, but are now better than anytime before. Progressive rock fans with a wicked sense of humour will get a lot of smiles and laughs out of The Big Adventure.

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