Mr Peter Hayden – Faster Than Speed or Violating Special Relativity   Leave a comment

In the album notes for Mr Peter Hayden’s “Faster Than Speed” album it states “The Songs Deal With Time” and time is exactly what you need to fully appreciate the spacious, lush sounds that are projected over two tracks that both have playing times of over 30 minutes each. Using sounds created by guitars, bass, drums, percussion and finished with synthesizers, piano, wind instruments and various acoustic elements. The sound-scapes here are very cinematic as styles from Doom Metal, Drone, Psychedelia, Space Rock to experimental Prog-Rock are interwoven into an endless stream of ambient, flowing hypnotic music. Its pure music made for meditative listening as there is no catchy hooks, no riffs to make you grab your air-guitar and while it has certain melodic segments, the emphasis is on slow-building atmospherics.

Track one is “Smoke In Space”  begins after some gentle plucking acoustics, the track builds from then on but extremely slowly. Its not till around 10 minutes into the track before it starts to really get a strong vibe going, by this stage it has a warm floating in space feeling that is both moody and climatic. “Smoke In Space” builds from its quieter build-up to a heavily dramatic section with the bass starting to throb underneath a repeating, mesmerizing guitar line that has an early 70’s Jazz Fusion feel. The backbone of the song is the bass and drums as both are locked into an repetitive pattern that carries the song perfectly, letting the guitar to run over the top with various buzzes, squeals, ambient feedback and the odd dramatic, crushing riff that is closer to the work of Robert Fripp (King Crimson) than any doom guitarist. The track leads into an wonderful melodic section at the 16 minute mark, the melody line is very striking and filled with an ambient tension.

The second half of “Smoke In Space” is even more ambitious and is centered around a more dramatic, melodic structure. The spacious nature of the song allows instruments to breathe and flow while the atmosphere builds into a kind of orchestrated feel. It must be noted here that this 6 piece band that consists of L. Kivelä on bass, JP. Koivisto on guitars, S. Kuosmanen on guitars and synthesizers, M. Marjamäki on drums, T. Santamaa on percussions and V. Vatanen on guitars and saxophone are all from Finland and for some reason this country has always produced excellent bands within the Progressive Rock and Space Rock genres of music. This band has to be one of the best in terms of musicianship as while its mostly mellow and ambient stuff, the elements of everything from Jazz to movie soundtrack themes are added effortlessly and without you noticing the subtle variations taking place, this is pure art of the highest order. The final 10 minutes of “Smoke In Space” takes on a more rocking vibe with a increase in tempo and increased heaviness and groove coming from the guitar. The guitar riff in the last few minutes is beautifully delivered and played with thoughtful techniques and above all – taste. The 33 minute journey of this piece leaves you breathless but mesmerized.

The second track with the strange title of “/\t=0” starts much like the first, gently building up the atmosphere. Its hypnotic and very ambient with beautifully orchestrated guitar lines playing in unison with the percussion sounds which sounds like congas but I could be wrong about that. A dramatic switch to thumping progressive metal crunch occurs 7 minutes into the track that again takes it on a different path, again the technique is one of slowly but steadily building up the tension. The band is not about the immediate as they work on the atmospherics in a slow but thoughtful manner. The Prog/Jazz Rock overtones are ominous as the music is always threatening to explode into something unexpected and surreal, so this creates an certain tension to the arrangement. A nice twist is injected a few minutes later with an unique and complex time-signature change. There is also some swirling, spacey sounds at the halfway point of “/\t=0” to add to the other-worldly vibe but still keep the hypnotic grooves keep going, keeping it within the ambient realms.

Moving into the second half, things get very Psychedelic with sounds switching from distorted electrified effects to increasingly more climatic and dramatic passages of hypnotic ambiance. When the track finally comes to a halt there is a almost sense of relief, not that its bad but the second track is much harder to get through than the first. Its does not have the same effortless flow of the opening piece and is more disjointed overall and more repetitive. However this is still an good tune but its also too long even for me who has listened to extended pieces of rock music my entire life. The playing and the warm production of the album makes this a very enjoyable album but could have been more effective if the tracks were cut into 4 tracks instead of 2. Some sections extend too far and because of their repetitive nature it makes this sometimes too self absorbed and stuffy. Having said that, there is big rewards for the effort of listening to this album, there is many fine passages and some beautifully executed melodies and dramatic themes. The musicianship is also very note-worthy as is the thoughtful and the ambitious approach to composing these 2 pieces. If there is a price to pay its the overall playing time, its very long-winded but along the way there is some golden moments to be had. For fans of ambient, drone, TV/Movie soundtrack themes as well as Progressive Doom, Mr. Peter Hayden is a musical wonder that should be high on the “must buy” lists of listeners into the above musical genres and themes……8.8/10
Official Site
Mr Peter Hayden Myspace

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Posted October 6, 2010 by doommantia in Mr Peter Hayden

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