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Infinite Ellipse and Head With Open Fontanel

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Album Review

When a band is as willfully eclectic as Make a Rising — all the way down to an album title as difficult to remember as it is meaningless — it would be foolish to expect anything consistent in quality or style on its second album. The only thing predictable about Infinite Ellipse and Head with Open Fontanel is that sprawling eclecticism, as well as, less attractively, a concurrent lack of accessibility. You get quasi-classical choral vocals; twisted progressive rock somewhat along the lines of some of Frank Zappa's stuff; meditative, moody impressionistic piano that glides into a chamber-like piece; and bursts of noise percussion. And, more than anything else, you get lots of traces of the Beach Boys at their freakiest. It's not enough to say that this is influenced by SMiLE; the mixture of complex Beach Boys-like harmonies, bittersweet melodies, piano-dominated balladry, unusual mini-orchestral arrangements, and intrusions of odd miscellaneous noises is enough to make one suspect that one or more of the musicians have not only studied SMiLE, but also its many bootlegged outtakes. It's also enough to make one wish, if only in theory, that perhaps they might do a whole album along these lines, instead of changing course with some regularity. That's obviously not Make a Rising's bag, however. You've got to take it all in, no matter what your taste, which makes it more original than a mere SMiLE-like facsimile, but also less listenable from start to finish.

Customer Reviews


EXCELLENT. The album begins (Sneffels Yokul), like their debut, with harmonic a capella, then breaking off into an amusing rhythm (amusing rhythms can be found all throughout the album, some really great percussion here) accompanied with an organic, colorful bass melody. It keeps at a nice pace and then suddenly pulls out the butcher's knife to show off the band's more aggressive tendencies. As quickly and as chillingly as the crescendo arrived, it disappears into the former world-music-esque visage... and then that disappears as well and introduces a solo piano (not solo-ING, just alone) playing one of the many hair-raising bittersweet melodies from this extraordinarily SYMBOLIC album (pun intended--as the album title is really only two symbols). From there, All One or None continues with haunting piano and a mixture of falsetto and baritone singing. The song is divided mostly in two sections, the first that I already mentioned, and then changing again adding melodic percussion along with the final words that really got to me: "All my friends are here--they shouldn't move away," providing some daunting, dramatic irony. This is a slower, shorter ditty with a lasting impression on the album, especially with it's placement right after the upbeat and angry Snuffels Yokul. Peaceful Paths begins thereafter with more of that disturbing lonely piano and tears open into an overwhelming, BIG-sounding chamber arrangement. After flirting with some pop-influence of repeating, "Peaceful paths don't lead astray," it returns to chamber slowly building up and down through whooshes of rapid drumming and beautiful violin. Then as the chamber-music character walks, he falls into a cleverly-built trap!--a nightmarish and dissonant climax, falling back to a soft death including what I think is an accordion to end the violent and deadly rollercoaster. The penultimate song on the album is the epic and wandering How's 'Bout a Love Supreme, which introduces itself calmly with piano and vocals. Within the next minute, the song evaporates in an ambient solution of animal noises, drones, echoes, and percussion, seemingly never to take its former state again. But it does for a short while. After this short lapse of harmony, jarring dissonance erupts out of the song's previous calm confines and soon resembles the soundtrack of some insane movie. Somewhat of a distraught and depressing happiness (similar to the crescendos of Peaceful Paths and Bradford Big Boatride). Woodsong Part Two comes afterward, following suit to Woodsong Part One's quirky, classical method. Trumpet succeeds and the album closes. Somewhat. Not really. You'll see. Anyways, like I said, this is an amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing album. It's a beautiful patchwork of different sounds and textures. More energy than their debut, and many gentle and soft points in the album that give me goosebumps. You'll find tons of amazing orchestration including an array of many, many instruments. Highly recommended. What do I know? What do I know? Nothing. Nothing.

Work of genius.

This album takes its listeners far away from the reaches of average music. No, this is not an album for the listner just looking for the most catchy tune or the most addictive beat; this is an album for the listener looking for something different, something creative, and something original. This album is both raw and technical; it's both harmonious and chaotic. I recommend this album to anyone looking for thought provoking, out of the box music.


Formed: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Flying the flag of 70s avant rock into the twenty-first century, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Make A Rising combined the influence of Henry Cow and Frank Zappa with the anything-goes ethic of post- Animal Collective indie rock. Formed by Justin Moyinhan (keyboards, accordion, vocals), Jesse Moynihan (guitar, violin, vocals), John Heron (percussion), Brandon Beaver (guitar, vocals), and John Pettit (bass, trumpet), they began stirring a tempestuous cauldron of sounds with the release of Battle...
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Infinite Ellipse and Head With Open Fontanel, Make A Rising
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