Somewhere beneath the level of timeless masterpiece status lies a group of albums whose quality and merit deserve categorization of something like "near-masterpiece." These are albums that have either achieved a Fishermetric score of between 90.0 and 87.0 or whose high points or quality level make it remarkable enough to remain affixed in my memory.
From the Year 2010, you will find below three (3) albums releases deserving, in my opinion, of the "near-masterpiece" designation.
12. ATARAXIA Llyr (Ambient Electronic Folk) is a very pleasant neoclassical ambient world folk music album very much in the vein of DEAD CAN DANCE with a remarkably strong female vocalist singing all lead vocals while being supported by traditional instruments and synthesizers. Francesca Nicoli's enigmatic operatic mezzo soprano voice reminds me at times of ENYA or Gunnhild Tvinnereim (SECRET GARDEN) (on "Sigillat"), Ana Torres Fraile (UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA) (on "Quintaluna") at times of a Chinese Opera singer ("Llyr" and "Evnyssien") and others ELIZABETH FRASER (COCTEAU TWINS) (on "Klepsydra") and still others of NINA HAGEN (on "Elldamaar"). The band tends to be hide intentionally behind veils of obscurity, however they themselves call their music "a cosmogonic dark folk" ("praying for Beauty"). Beautiful music it certainly is.
Line-up / Musicians:
- Gustaf Ejstes / piano, strings, flute, guitar (3-7), bass (2,8), organ (3,7,8), zither (6), drums (2), vocals, composer & producer
- Reine Fiske / guitar, bass (1,5-7,10))
- Mattias Gustavsson / bass (5,9)
- Johan Holmegard / drums
- Anna Järvinen / vocals (3)
2. "Min enda vän" (3:15) more upbeat pop with claps and major scale key. Sensitive vocals and strings and flute contribute to this song's universal accessibility. Definitely a top three song. (9.25/10)
3. "Brallor" (3:15) following a kind late-1960s "dirty" psych-pop musical style similar to The Association or The Pretty Things, female vocalist Anna Järvinen matches up well to Gustaf Ejstes. My other top three song. (9/10)
4. "Soda" (3:39) sensitive guitars, acoustic and electric, are matched with sensitive multi-track vocals. Reine gets some shine-time and the drum-and-strum supported chorus sections are awesome. Beautiful "Flower Child" song. A top three song for me. (9.5/10)
5. "Högdalstoppen" (4:44) an psych-jazzy instrumental to let Reine loose--in which the Inner Hendrix is set free. Even the support band sounds and feels like Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding. (8.5/10)
6. "Skit i allt" (2:59) back to pop--a melodic structure not as engaging to Americans because of the Swedish lyrics. (8.5/10)
7. "Barnen undrar" (3:21) a kind of hybrid of psychedelic fuzz guitar into a pop song. Oddly, it works: it's as if Reine's guitar and Ejstes' voice are having a conversation. (8.75/10)
8. "Blandband" (3:49) opens like a Vince Guaraldi Peanuts song with piano, jazz drums, and syncopated clapping creating the uptempo fabric of what will stay an instrumental song. Reine's reined in guitar joins in during the second or third "verse" and is very spacious and respectful in its contributions. Flute, clapping, and excellent drumming really carry the tune start to finish. (8.75/10)
9. "Nästa sommar" (3:20) acoustic guitar and congas are soon joined by Byrds-like picked electric guitar. The song takes a minute to gel, but then Gustaf's vocal sense and Pan-like flute play bring it together. (8.5/10)
10. "Marken låg stilla" (2:55) Paul McCartney-like piano chords open this before cymbal-heavy drums and bass join in to support Gustaf's vocal. Reine's heavy electric guitar joins in during the first chorus and then persists. Not sure Reine's and Gustaf's visions for this song/album are in sync here. (8/10)
Total Time: 34:27