“Garden of Fainting Stars”, the latest album by The Book of Knots, came accompanied (and I quote) “it’s a bit weird”. That as maybe, but what a release! This instalment, the last of in the bands “By Sea, By Land, By Air” trilogy, from Matthias Bossi, Joel Hamilton, Carla Kihlstedt and Tony Maimone is conceptually staged with all things aeronautical in mind; close your eyes and you could imagine yourself floating in outer-space!
‘Microgravity’ features the ethereal vocals; there’s passion, intrigue, samples galore and dissonant chords a-plenty. ‘Dropsophilia Melagonaster’ is a meandering wander through an airport with an omniscient presence providing a chronicle throughout the journey. Heavy orchestral sound bites and pianos help to build atmosphere into the traveller’s detailed account.
‘Moondust Must’, for me is the weakest track on the album. I feel it loses some of the atmosphere that is set in scene during ‘Dropsophilia Melagonaster’. The samples and cacophonous instruments remain strong throughout but we’re reminded of the ethereal quality of this release during ‘Lissajous Orbit’. The vocals are almost operatic yet are sinister; the piano is haunting and full of intrigue.
The Album’s title track, ‘Garden of Fainting Stars’, highlights the experimental nature of The Book of Knots; it’s quirky, captivating and full of the things that I love in music. ‘All This Nothing’ is beautiful, the song is laden with drama; you can imagine being catapulted across the solar system with nothing but a distant memory of ‘what was’.
‘Yeagers Approach’ provides a similar interlude to that of ‘Dropsophilia Melagonaster’ but with distortion to the narrative. It builds tension and adds confusion that actually makes sense to the album concept. ‘Planemo’, is a symphonic pleasure, reminiscent of a 1950’s sci-fi show with a ‘galactic halo’. It’s like the lounge version of the ‘Jetsons’ that is then obliterated by an intergalactic emergency. You sense the frenzy, the velocity and bubbling tension. Oh and Mike Patton takes the vocal lead, which helps!
‘Nebula Rasa’ is the penultimate track, and my favourite. It is piano led with orchestral overtones and hysterical vocals that are also ominous in tone that leads the imagination towards the massacre of the ‘Jetsons’, if one should imagine such a tragedy.
Finally, ‘Obiturary for the Future’ closes the space themed drama from The Book of Knots. It has almost desperate samples, heavy guitars and stunning vocals and melodies.
All in all an awesome listen, one which has so many layers – that you can easily hear something new with each listen. If you’re looking for something new to listen to, then look no further – but do give it more than one listen or you could miss a little gem like ‘If you’re the only listener out there, then I’m sorry for yelling at ya everyday……..’.