Lunatic Soul: Fractured – album review
Lunatic Soul: Fractured
CD/DL /2LP vinyl
Lunatic Soul is Mariusz Duda. Best known for the part he plays in Polish progressive groundbreakers Riverside. His fifth album in this guise is different…yet familiar.
Duda has talked about Fractured as the most original album he’s made and the most accessible of the five LS albums – the fact that there’s even a back catalogue may surprise some. It’s one of those underground projects that has continued to fly below the radar and build slowly, until suddenly, Fractured threatens to be the one that opens the door.
Inspiration, if that’s the right word, comes from two deaths in his close circle: one his close musical companion, Riverside guitarist Piotr Grudzinski, shortly followed by that of his father. Enough to challenge the resolve of even the strongest of souls. A musical outpouring results in his catharsis, no surprise that it takes up on themes of returning from a personal tragedy.
Although touted as something that provides enough of a departure from the main job to maintain the interest, the apple doesn’t seem to fall that far from the tree, especially after an encounter with Riverside’s last effort that gathered together more of their ambient soundscapes in Eye Of The Soundscape. Where Lunatic Soul has previously been something that has challenged, Fractured returns via a more recognisable and accessible path.
Easy to become entranced and hypnotised by Blood On The Telescope, as the focus on rhythms and electronics becomes apparent. Maybe the musical embodiment of his notion of “thinking mainly in red.” A starkness becomes established as snatches and snippets of lyrical phrases begin to stick in the mind as an eerie confessional. Fractured might on the one hand be comforting but never a listen that seems comfortable. There’s a feel of constant presence of the element of tension, balancing on the verge of some sort of frantic release.
Duda also works the Polish Sinfonietta Consonus Orchestra onto two tracks – Crumbling Teeth And The Owl Eyes and the epic twelve minutes of A Thousand Shards Of Heaven. The former perhaps the more successful of the two, garnering the full effect of sweeping strings and then the chance to read into the title what you will. The latter promises to be the most personal with the orchestra bringing a depth of emotion that the electronic direction struggles to offer, although a less focused middle section lessens the impact.
Suitably rounding off with the declaration of Moving On, it offers a postscript of optimism that Mariusz Duda has found in Fractured, the vehicle for redemption through which to channel a fitting deliverance.
You can listen to the title track from the album here:
You can find the official Lunatic Soul website here