Zenit – The Chandrasekhar Limit
Zenit is a band from Switzerland that has been lurking around since 1998. The band has not exactly set the world on fire with their output, as this is only their third release in all of that time. What they lack in album releases, however, they make up for in creativity. The Chandrasekhar Limit is one of the best Progressive rock albums released in recent memory. The songs are well composed and elaborate and contain originality, while at the same time tipping the hat to their obvious influences, which include Genesis, Marillion, Supertramp, Kansas and Gentle Giant.
Founder and bass player Andy Thommen says, “We've chosen The Chandrasekhar Limit as the title because this mathematical threshold defines if a white dwarf star remains a star or becomes a black hole... So, as a band we feel that we are passing a crossroads without knowing where this track leads to. We do not know if we are above or below the Chandrasekhar limit.
“We started writing and demoing the new album with our previous drummer Luigi Pedruzzi. For most of the songs we started on a rough idea by our keyboardist Ivo Bernasconi, then the whole band worked on it, until it was ready for a demo recording. Working on it for us means play it over and over again with absolute freedom to improvise changes, and normally when we get a few 'wow' reactions in the band we know we are close.
“The longest track 'The Daydream Suite' was different. Ivo had just a basic idea; we started playing on it, it just came one note after the the other, one chord after the other. This was a magic band experience. When we finished recording the demos our drummer left the band. We made one single call to a friend and drummer. As he was teaching drums in Lausanne, we asked him if by chance he knew someone... His answer was 'Me'! Within a bit more than a half a year he was ready to record the drum tracks for The Chandrasekhar Limit with a fresh breath of new energy! In sum, the essence of our way to work is: play it, play it and play it again until it sounds good, and only then you can start recording.”
“There was no structured plan for this album. No plan to make it symphonic, epic, neo or retro...it just came out as it is,” says Thommen. “Here are jazzy and samba rhythms, even Sanskrit lyrics bits and Indian sounds and ambiances. The only thing we wanted to create was an ensemble of very different ambiances and feelings, and transmits to the listener the fun we have playing these songs.”
The band effortlessly mixes surreal Pink Floyd moments with complex instrumental passages. This is music made for musicians; just like all of the best Prog rock out there.
While Prog rock is not a popular style of music in 2013, it is awesome that bands like Zenit our doing this, and doing it so well.
By Jeb Wright