The mastermind behind Lunatic Soul, Mariusz Duda (also renowned as the front man of the band Riverside) crafted what could well be one of his finest albums to date in last year’s ‘Fractured’, the fifth album in the Lunatic Soul canon. 2018 marks the ten year anniversary of his deeply personal solo project and to mark this occasion, Mariusz announced he would be releasing a sixth companion album with eight new compositions titled ‘Under The Fragmented Sky’.
The name is a reference to a lyric from his opus “A Thousand Shards of Heaven” of the ‘Fractured’ album. Originally the L.P was planned to be a maxi single but Mariusz came to the realization that these songs deserved to have an identity of their own. The release will compliment the dark atmospheric vision of Fractured and at the same time progress the project one step further.
The most notable difference is the lyrics taking a back seat and Mariusz deciding to compose mostly instrumentals whilst experimenting with vocal melodies. It collides the world of progressive rock and electronic music effortlessly and is a fine addition to the Lunatic Soul catalogue. The futuristic sound on ‘Under the Fragment Sky’ is most evident with the opening song “He av en”, its hypnotic loop and robotic voices closely resemble Radiohead’s seminal album ‘Kid A’. “Trials” is a dark oriental trance vision and could well have been used in the latest Blade Runner blockbuster or any other dystopian science fiction film. The beautiful ballad “Sorrow” gives the listener a short pause to breathe and fits nicely into a collection of heavily contemplative songs. The title track is the organic antidote to the L.P bringing light pianos, acoustic guitars and post rock/shoe gaze guitar sound effects, taking the listener into a daydream alongside its sober lyrics.
In contrast “Shadows” is a strikingly haunting instrumental and sounds like someone is stalking you in a cold winters night. It certainly would enhance one of David Lynch’s or Andrew Tarkovsky’s art house films. “Rinsing the Night” is an enchanting folkloric song and if you’re someone who enjoys Riverside’s progressive rock compositions, this will appeal to your appetite. In case you’re going to listen to this album on vinyl and the song “The Art of Repairing” comes up, don’t worry your needle isn’t skipping, it’s how Mariusz designed the composition to sound, it skips frequently and it’s the most electronically engineered piece of music he has crafted to date ending with an emotive auto-tune voice. Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk fans will love this song and it still maintains the Lunatic Soul trademark with its complex trance idiom stamped all over it. To wrap up this impressive release the song “Untamed” is only the second song to feature lyrics on the album and is much less of an indulgent experiment and more of an emotive singer songwriter composition with drummer Wawrzyniec Dramowicz (aka Vaaver) making a guest appearance on the song. It also pertains optimistic lyrics when Mariusz sings “and it’s going to be the best story of your life” a fitting way to end a brilliant work of art.
‘Under the Fragment Sky’ does a magnificent job in extending the Lunatic Soul musical vocabulary and allows the introspective nature of the compositions to have their chance under the sun. According to Mariusz, Lunatic Soul was only meant to be a black (first album) and white (second album) diptych but after releasing ‘Impressions’ (an instrumental companion to the black and white albums) the side project began what he calls “the circle of history”. This circle represents the cycle of life and death and the music changes according to what side of the circle you’re on. In order to complete the cycle there needs to be six albums but the complimentary albums are only a bridge and do not complete the full circle so we can still expect more music from Lunatic Soul in the near future! The concept takes influence from the Buddhist philosophy of reincarnation and it truly is a spiritual journey for both the creator and the listener.