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24 June 2011

Coronarias Dans - 'Visitor' (Inner City)

The leader of Coronarias Dans is clearly Kenneth Knudsen, the keyboardist, who composed all eight of these jazzy fusion/prog jams, and dominates with his vibe-like electric piano. The liner notes tell me that this an exciting chapter in Danish music, but I'm not so sure. This has lingered in my accumlation of vinyl for so long mostly because I forgot about it; does my passion for wonky 70's Scandinavian prog have limits? Visitor really catches fire at the end of each side, when the band starts to rawk; until the we get a lot of noodling, and Peter Friis Nielsen's bass guitar continually poking it's head through the dirt, like a worm. 'Morning' is abstraction at its best, a nice dewdawn despite the aforementioned punchy bass. Some of these guys used to be in Secret Oyster, and also Burnin' Red Ivanhoe, and I guess that's what the Købehavn kids were jamming in the mid-70's when they weren't busy making those Tegn pornos. Actually my entire concept of Denmark in the 1970s comes from porn, but not actual porn as much as that Rodox magazine which I once saw a bunch of photos from, all cropped to be PG-rated, and one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I feel that same sense of toppling into a mystery here, but only if I strain. I think I grabbed this cause it was on Inner City, which did release some Art Ensemble of Chicago records around the same time, and because I was hoping for something as far-out as Flasker-Brinnet or Arbete/Fritid. Had I noticed the telltale name of Friis I woulda not mistaken this Danish band for being Swedish. This could of course benefit from being further out, though the rocking bit of 'Don't Know' does have a nice burning drone underneath, like a hurdy-gurdy thing on a guitar. On the flipside, the title track has some snappy drumming but the bassist is in total Bill Laswell mode; you wonder how these guys would sound with some Rodoxed vocalist wailing on top of everything. There's one section when the drum solos for a few measures, right before the song sputters out, and it's like a dub track because they've kicked the treble or done something weird. I dunno, but it's kinda cool in a This Heat way. 'Tied Wawes' immediately takes it down a notch; it's the sensitive ballad. (Yawn.) The compositions are actually quite open - there are times when everyone is playing well with each other around nothing at all. 'Which Witch' is the most aggressive tune of the album but it never rips free from it's shackles; it's a bit frustrating overall, Knudsen's compositional style, as it's rooted in its own navel-gazing but without really being willing to say anything. I'm being too harsh on it - the whole LP ends in a bit of Canterbury-esque chordal crashes that are kinda nice in a familiar way. I guess I'm just tough on the Nordics.

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