|Translation:||Crypt Of Fear|
Do you remember Windows98's screensaver with intertwining and color changing polygons? I know this is a pretty strange anology but this is the first image I associated to Penfield's new album. And — as you can see — the cover seems to suggest something similar.
Listening to the Geneva quintet's music, following their evolution, the attention to the sounds, and the imaginary made of virtual and retro-futuristic psychedelic landscapes, it's like watching these lines changing shade and position: despite being seemingly simple and limited in the movements, the ways they can combine are almost endless. The importance of the visual aspect is also marked by a VJ presence when they play live, to make the experience more complete.
Penfield's music is identifiable in a mixture of Jazz-Fusion and Prog Rock with a vaguely space tone, two styles that knows each other for a long time, whose union still seems to have so much to offer. The forty minutes of "Parallaxi5" are a journey in a parallel reality where the guitars constantly surprise with long and tasty solos, often racing against a saxophone to who is more deserving to get the spotlights; the situation becomes more complicated when the bass or double bass can't hide their need to show off, sometimes winning against their two opponents. In this chaos it's the drums' duty to meet the needs to the three contenders and at the same time dictate their rules, while a Fender Rhodes still finds a way to show its characteristic sound.
Penfield can handle with great skill their personal chaos, instead bringing in it a clearly defined order and logic that allow musicians to enjoy further experimentations, thanks to the use of Moog and Mininova synths, of an Ebow and with an use of electronics not overdone but decisive in transforming the tracks: the best examples are the opener and "Apax 34 002", basically two Jazz tracks that get easily closer to Trip-Hop and in the second one even to EDM near the end. In general the band manages to always vary the proposal, for example in some aggressive passages like in the last two songs, other times atmospheric like in "[Hapax] Abyss", then go in a different direction with almost Disco rhythms in "[Hapax] DNA"; also worth mentioning "La Physique Anarchique", enjoyable in all of its (almost) thirteen minutes that fly away in a moment, thanks to the band's skills in entertaining the listener without a weakness.
The formation itself prefers the instrumental approach, however the vocal presence is represented by some samples and by three guests: again the sci-fi "Apax 34 002" is followed by Walther Gallay's theatricality ; "Fashioned Wonderland" uses instead MC Xela to go boldly into Soul, Hip-Hop and R&B territories; finally Capt. Etc. and his waterfall of words enriches the already dynamic "L'Anonyme", also with a very sci-fi sound.
In the end "Parallaxi5" is a good work, with attention for the details and devoid of actual weaknesses, whoever likes the genres proposed by Penfiled and in particular their combination will find in this release a good company.