The Moon On A Stick
(2018 – Afraid of Sunlight Records – GERMANY)
A gorgeous sophomore album by masters of expression Volker Kunke (who directed this project) and Jens Lueck (who did sound engineering and production). Both have worked together on many previous recordings other than Syrinx Call, but this and their debut ‘Wind In The Woods’ (which put a high mark on the progressive celtic/classical/art rock world), rank extremely prominent on my most loved music list of this genre.
As did the first, ‘The Moon On A Stick’ features Isgaard on vocals. Part of the album is heart achingly beautiful instrumental, along with some angelic voice/vocals by either or both Doris Packbiers and Isgaard, with Jens Lueck performing lead vocals on ‘Breathe In’ ( track 9), ‘Wait For The Light Of Day’ (track 10), and the last track (12) ‘The Man In The Spotlight’, in which Volker also adds voice. Monika and Ian Lewis contribute voice on this song too. The entire list of credits are : Volker Kuinke (Alto-, Soprano-, Tenor-, Bass- and Great bass recorder, Voice on 12), Jens Lueck (Vocals on 9, 10 and 12, Keyboards, Moog, Piano, Drums, Percussion and Programming), Isgaard (Vocals on 3, 9 and 10, Backing vocals on 4), Doris Packbiers (Vocals on 1, 2, 6 and 8, Backing vocals on 3 and 4, Voice on 12), Jan Petersen (Electric guitar on 2, 5, 10 and 12), Jürgen Osuchowski (Acoustic- and Western guitar on 1 and 4), Joachim Schlüter (Slide guitar on 1), Katja Flintsch (Viola and Violin on 3, 4, 6, 8 and 11), Annika Stolze (Violoncello on 3, 5, 6, 8 and 11), along with Monika and Iain Lewis (Voice on 12). So you can see what a nice ensemble this is, giving it the symphonic support it floats so well in.
The compositions glow with such a majestic air, carrying each melody like a feather on the breath of God. (a nod to Hildegard von Bingen from yours truly). The arrangements are ultra-rich and have a true full orchestra sound. Even on the occasional break into a semi heavy passage, the atmosphere keeps the powerful paradisiacal feel out front, much like a post rock vein at times. As always, the production and execution is superb. The instrumentation is spotless. Volker’s various recorder work is sparkling, and Jens drums, keyboards, percussion, programming and vocals are spectacular. The entire cast is fanciful and simply great. By the time you get to the final cut, you’ll be ready for take off. With a Pink Floyd-like gem, that gently moves into that huge celtic fusion world Syrinx Call are so good at, the somewhat ‘Comfortably Numb’ beginning gives way to silky melody and chorus running on ultimate eargasm. After Jan Peterson knocks out the sweet David Gilmour-like lead, then the feathers settle. The whole disc is so grand that only a scrooge would dislike it. RECOMMENDED!
Reviewed by Lee Henderson 10 – 25 – 2018