9/10 starts on Frame music

Written by: Kev Rowland  

Every so often I am contacted by a band/label/PR company I haven’t come across before, and am asked if I would be interested in hearing the new release by someone I am not aware of. Generally I agree, as it is one of the best ways of discovering new music, and sometimes I come away quite astounded at what I am listening to, and this is definitely one of those instances. I am probably one of the few progheads in the world who hasn’t been totally impressed with some of Steve Wilson’s solo albums, so rarely seek them out any more, so hadn’t come across Slovakian guitarist, film music composer and sound designer David Kollar, who was invited by Wilson to play on two tracks on ‘To the Bone’ and then as opening act in the European leg of his shows. King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto also took a serious interest in Kollar’s work, and joined forces with him and trumpeter Paolo Ranieri to create the KoMaRa project in 2015. David’s other collaborators include Fennesz, Marco Minnemann, and Gergo Borlai. Mastelotto describes his style as “An interesting combination of Eastern European classical influences, jazz, ambient, techno, IDM, trippy heavy blues rock mixed with Eastern folk styles, played on a homemade guitar through a quirky combination of pedals and effects. I know critics often like to put music into categories but with David’s music that’s very difficult to do.” Here he has joined forces with Norwegian trumpet maestro Arve Henriksen: after meeting at a couple of festivals in 2017 they decided it would be a good idea to join forces, and this is the result. 

Right from the off I decided not to try and work out what instrument was providing what sound, as many have been treated and changed, but instead went with the flow which is possibly the only way to describe this music, as it feels like a river full of vitality, eddies and currents, with a great deal of movement happening under the surface. It’s not ambient, or jazz, or fusion, but somehow a mixture of all these and much more. This is progressive rock in its truest sense, and while there are times when it can be very gentle indeed, there are others when a strident guitar cuts through like a scimitar through a curtain. The production of this album is amazing, with everything captured just as it should be, and the result is a wall of noise that is also ethereal and breathtaking in its audacity. Simplicity and complexity go hand in hand, and one never knows what is going to happen next. Tribal style percussion may move the music in one direction, while a treated soprano trumpet could move it in another at the drop of a feather. There are times when Arve provides some vocals, but yet again it is another musical instrument as opposed to a lead role. 

Overall this is an incredible release, and I’m not really sure that I have heard anything quite like this before. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you want to hear music that is both refusing to conform to any sense of normality while also breaking boundaries and being inherently enjoyable throughout, then this is it. 

Rating: 9/10 


Track list: 
1. Night Navigator 
2. Mirror Transformations 
3. Silk Spinning 
4. Chimera 
5. The Spiral Turn 
6. Solarization 
7. Vision of Light 
8. Castles In The Air 
9. Bird Of Passage 
10. Augmented Reality 
11. Roving Observer 
12. Beyond the iCloud 



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