It's the first day that I've had this CD and this is my third listen. Therefore I think I'm qualified to review this album. This is the first time in quite some time that I can't stop playing a CD. The work "Naïve", is the first solo album by Thomas Thielen, lead vocalist and guitarist for the fledgling German prog band Scythe.
While Scythe put out a fine album in it's debut, it did not make my top ten list for 2001. I now want to go back to it and find out why. That is because Thielen's solo album is virtually perfect in every way.
"Naïve" is a moody, atmospheric spacey voyage through electronic and acoustic landscapes. The description provided says that it's Floydian but I would put the sound rightfully in the arena being explored by the excellent American band Timothy Pure and perhaps early Porcupine Tree.
There is a lot of sampling used much like Porcupine Tree's early works, but in a way it does not distract from the warmth of the sound. It's because Thielen writes beautiful, languid melodies. He does not let technology undermine the melodic spirit of each song. It's true that "Naïve" has a very dark side and there are definitely edgy grooves, but all one has to do is wait one minute and there's relief from the chaos.
Naïve contains nearly 70 minutes of music. Each song seems to concentrate on different feelings, gently and simultaneously sharply plunging from one extreme to the other.
There's the sweeping vortex of spacey synths on "She Said". Gentle piano on "Round Here" and the powerful, crushing mellotron on "Do not come back". Some songs are built on angular movements that are minimalistic, and others like "Mother" and "She is dead" have magnificent orchestration. The guitar is also there, subtly accentuating each curve in the musical hemisphere.
The final song, "About us", begins in a simple understated melody but slowly builds to a stunning crescendo. A fine finish to a brilliant piece of work.
It's said in the press notes that Thielen also plays all the instruments. If this is true, this is one very talented person. "Naïve" is an important release that shows that progressive rock still lives within that cold musical factory of industrial music. It breathes and surges with hot blood, passion and despair - all simultaneously. And that is what good music is all about.
"Naïve" is distributed by the small, but excellent Swiss prog label, Galileo Records.