Long-Form Self-Indulgence – A Compendium of Overlong Music from 2017

Some may know already, but one of my many péchés mignons is a certain affection for long, single compositions. I can trace this likeness to my first encounters with progressive metal – the real beginning of my musical journey –, and to Dream Theater especially. The title track of their double album Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence was truly mind-blowing for the teen whom I was, with its eight movements spanning over forty minutes of impressive musicianship and songcraftsmanship. I’ve grown out of my fandom for the band, somewhat, but there’s still some magic in their earlier catalogue. Since then, I’ve been actively on the hunt for long compositions, especially those of the “prog” ilk, and this led me on the path to more and more obscure music. So, in a way, this little, non-exhaustive list of long songs is me indulging myself, and spreading my love for them.

In this list, I’ve included single chunks as well as suites appearing as multiple consecutive tracks on one album (or more!), so long as they feel or behave like a single entity. I’ve only included tracks of thirty minutes or more, lest this list becomes way too long itself. Finally, since there are still two weeks left for 2017, I’ll update this list if anything new and worthwhile comes up. So, without further ado, let’s start this with

Chiral
The Twilight Songs, Part 1
1. Monumental – 30:00
Ⅰ. Introduction – 3:20
Ⅱ. Walking the Sundown – 5:31
Ⅲ. Yearn for the Full Moon – 7:33
Ⅳ. Towards the Mountains of Fire – 4:15
Ⅴ. To Incite the Transformation – 3:51
Ⅵ. As I Left Everything Behind – 5:30
Released in August, this progressive folk track was actually improvised and recorded in a few sessions. The band usually does in blackgaze and other occult arts, but this entirely acoustic track explores new territories entirely.


Monoceros
Space Dungeon
1. Space Dungeon – 30:01
Doom metal from Australia is ofttimes gripping and disgustingly heavy. This is no exception, with its fuzzy guitars and slow stoner riffs, adding up to a little over thirty minutes. It’s also the debut release of Monoceros, so congrats!


Schammasch
The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite
Hermaphrodite – 30:28
1. Prologue – 5:10
2. The Weighty Burden of an Eternal Secret – 6:25
3. Along the Road That Leads to Bedlam – 3:38
4. These Tresses Are Sacred – 1:41
5. May His Illusion Last Until Dawn’s Awakening – 4:48
6. Chimerical Hope – 4:26
7. Do Not Open Your Eyes – 4:19
Oh, yes, we do love our Swiss Schammasch. We’ve covered this album rather extensively already, so I won’t spread myself too much here. Just know that it’s some exquisite avant-garde black metal, and that the seven tracks on the EP make up one cohesive whole that is best listened to in one sitting. Enjoy!


Lost Salt Blood Purges
Haunted Arrow Arc
2. The Haunted Arrow’s Arc in Three Movements – 31:34
Ⅰ. Hanover
Ⅱ. Gwenhwyfar
Ⅲ. Liliaceae
What best describes Australia’s LSBP is perhaps experimental folk music, but that would be an understatement, as their music often incorporates many other styles and genres. This release, for example, has a lot of noise influence, post-rock, and contemporary music embedded into it. “The Haunted Arrow’s Arc” is a fittingly haunting piece that envelops you into its thick atmosphere.


Stormhaven
Exodus
Exodus – 31:46
1. The Emerging Ghost – 8:13
2. The Crystal Gate – 9:58
3. The Celestial Eye – 13:34
The first three songs from this album make up the epic “Exodus”, an expansive progressive death metal triptych. The song ebbs and flows from tense to more breathing passages, which makes it interesting. While the song is brought down by a lacklustre production, it’s still quite a journey.


אין (Ein)
Entropie
Entropie – 31:53
1. Prélude – 4:08
2. Entropie – 12:17
3. L’horloge – 9:54
4. Disparition – 5:37
Entropie is the debut album of French experimental post-black metal אין (Ein). While this tetralogy feels more like a demo than an actual debut, thanks to the massive use of synthesized instruments, the compositions that is being played is entrancing and really something to behold. Of course, I’m being too harsh again, this is a solo project and such artists seldom have the funds to record a professional-sounding album, but that is to the detriment of the music itself.


Mosaic
Old Man’s Wyntar
Chapter Ⅲ: Vröudenhüge und Rouchnaht – 32:28
7. Silent World, Holy Awe – 4:06
8. Vom ersten Schnee – 5:56
9. Silver Nights – 22:25
Technically, this album came out in 2014, but a 2017 re-edition includes a new song that interests us. The atmospheric folk black metal of Mosaic has been widely lauded since the release of this album, and the three new tracks, which make up a new chapter of the Old Man’s Wyntar story.


An Empty Room

A-1. Ⅱ – 32:31
Ⅰ. Swords
Ⅱ. Lichens
Ⅲ. Flies
The complete and utter blackness of “Ⅱ” is most apparent on its unsurprisingly all-black cassette tape release. Their atmospheric doom metal is heavy and pounding. This single-track album is a joy to listen to, while being stampeded upon by its massive riffs.


Mossenek
Paranoia Plague Shrine
1. Waveform Solids – 32:38
Re-released in 2017, the two sides of this album are finally out as one entity. On its first side sat “Waveform Solids”, the opening track and second longest (more on that later), a brilliant and puzzling tapestry of avant-garde black metal, noise, and improvised music. Certainly, this is not for the faint of heart.


Big Big Train
London Song
1. London Song – 34:02
Ⅰ. Turner on the Thames
Ⅱ. London Plane
Ⅲ. Lost Rivers of London
Ⅳ. London Stone
Ⅴ. Skylon
Ⅵ. Mudlarks
England’s Big Big Train have kept a steady and prolific pace in 2017, with the release of no less than three albums. The last of which is this one, a single 34-minute epic in six parts, but not separated in different tracks. If you don’t know the band already, they’re at the fore of a new progressive folk rock resurgence, with constantly great releases, and “London Song” is no different.


Jay Tausig
View from a Lawnchair in the Galactic Meadow
2. In the Galactic Meadow – 34:08
Ⅰ. Part One – 2:39
Ⅱ. Part Two – 9:14
Ⅲ. Part Three – 6:46
Ⅳ. Part Four – 3:12
Ⅴ. Part Five – 7:55
Ⅵ. Part Six – 4:22
An instrumental progressive rock/krautrock album, the second part of which is this vast suite. The song is very psychedelic, almost like a jam session in the seventies. All the instruments have been recorded by Jay Tausig, so it’s really a legitimate glimpse of the musician’s artistic process and personality.


(L’effondras)
Les flavescences
4. ⅩⅢ: Le serpentaire – 34:23
Les flavescences has really been one of my favourite albums of the year. The post-rock that emanates from this French trio has some intangible quality to it – it’s mathy and very dense; even its lack of a bass guitar goes unnoticed –, and the album’s closing chapter is perhaps the epitome of it all. Sure, there may be something like ten minutes of field recordings after the main composition ends, but are they not utterly part of it and not beside it if they were intentionally included here? I’ll let you think about it, but make sure to listen to this transcending album!
P.S.: Check out their 25-minute video for it here!


Orthodox
Supreme
1. Supreme – 36:07
Spiritual jazz and doom metal, you say? I say “Heck!” This bass, saxophone and drums trio is one of the most bewildering things of the year, for certain. Psychedelic and heavily improvised, this track/album will certainly get you to question everything you thought you knew.


Canyon of the Skull
The Desert Winter
1. The Desert Winter – 37:11
Southern rock and doom metal with a healthy dose of sludge, that’s pretty much what you should expect from this one. The instrumental duo took it to the extreme with “The Desert Winter”, an almost forty-minute doom release. There’s a bit to critic as far as production goes, but otherwise this is pretty cool.


Evergreen Refuge
Cascadian Yule ⅯⅯⅩⅥ
1. Cascadian Yule ⅯⅯⅩⅥ – 37:54
This live-recorded full-length performance offers us some insight on another side of Evergreen Refuge’s music: the ritual. Instead of the usual type of black metal, this is an acoustic piece that’s an offering to… uhh… the Gods of Yule, I suppose? In any case, this is a nice and profound piece.


Werl
HH.2016.09.08
HH.2016.09.08 – 39:16
1. Part 1 – 19:39
2. Part 2 – 5:01
3. Part 3 – 14:34
I’ve fallen in love with Werl’s self-titled debut, previously released under the names “Aidan Baker & Tomas Järmyr”. While this new iteration of the progressive ambient post-rock duo is perhaps more restrained than ever, the loose and broad landscapes painted by Aidan and Tomas are superb and fascinating.


Charnia
Het laatste licht

1. Het laatste licht – 39:48
A-1. Ⅰ
B-1. Ⅱ
I’ve already written my thoughts on this beautiful record, so let me just do a quick recap: it’s awesome, gentle at first and then heavy, and truly an immersive experience.


Hathenter
Hathenter Ouija
1. Ouija – 40:11
That is one powerful, expressive, and abstract release. An incomparable set of improvised avant-garde metal where the players lent their hands in a similar way to the Ouija board. This is unrelenting abrasion and a real channeling of raw, incomprehensible emotions.


Daira
Vipreet Buddhi
साइड ए (Side A) – 41:52
1-1. सकयूबस (Succubus) – 5:04
1-2. जिन्नात की जलेबी (Jinnat ki Jalebi) – 5:04
1-3. इन्कयुबस (Incubus) – 4:52
1-4. मातम (Māatam) – 7:09
1-5. इलज़ाम (Ilzāam) – 2:53
1-6. परार (Farāar) – 3:09
1-7. रहानी तन्ज़िया गुपतगू (Roohani Tanziyāa Guftagoo) – 12:17
1-8. अपना उल्लू सीधा (Apna Ullu Seedha) – 1:24
Mumbai’s experimental rock band Daira just released Vipreet Buddhi, a two-sided album whose two sides are conducted and improvised jam sessions divided into eight parts each, and both are featured on this list! Side A is conducted by Amogh Symphony mastermind and renowned musician Vishal J Singh. The album feels like an abstract soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist, with its swelling guitars and reverberating vocals. There are funky passages, more atmospheric ones, some that sound straight out of a psychedelic prog album, and others rather straightforward rock parts. It’s a pretty interesting experiment to say the least!


Ursus X
Orion
[Listen to previews on CD Baby.]
Orion – 42:49
1. Part 1 – 21:08
2. Part 2 – 21:41
In a true prog rock move, Sweden’s Ursus X has released a two-part, forty-minute song that’s awfully reminiscent of some of the pillars of progressive rock, such as Gentle Giant, King Crimson, but even more so Mike Oldfield and Yes. It’s a truly fantastic release for fans of symphonic prog and progressive folk rock, and it deserves a place on this list for being so huge!


Apathy
The Path Way
1. The Path Way – 43:16
Ⅰ. An Allegory – 2:37
Ⅱ. The Path – 9:55
Ⅲ. Polaris – 8:37
Ⅳ. Snowblind – 8:05
Ⅴ. The Way – 13:40
Ⅵ. A Cave – 3:55
As ambitious as it is, there is little flaw to point out at Apathy’s latest release. The biggest of them, however, is the almost amateurish production of the value, which, again, is to the detriment of the composition itself. Take more time, and invest a little, it will be only to the benefit of the art. That notwithstanding, the concepts and themes of The Path Way are really interesting.


The Grand Astoria
The Grand Astoria Meets the Finest Moscow Sound Explorers
3-1. Home – 43:33
The Grand Astoria is a really interesting Russian band. They make quality music in many different genres and styles, and never cease to find new ways of reinventing themselves. The latest one is their The Grand Astoria Meets series, which sees them collaborate with other artists. The first of these collaborative is a drawn-out, ambient, and psychedelic rock on what would be a three-disc release (were it physical). “Home” is the shortest and last of the three CD-long tracks. We’ll therefore see two more entries from this album further down the list!


ᚪᚱᛊᛏᛁᛞᛁᚱ᛬ᛚᛁᚠᛊᛁᚾᛊ (Árstíðir lífsins)
ᚻᛖᛚᛃᚫᚱᚲᚣᛁᛞᚨ (Heljarkviða)
ᚻᛖᛚᛃᚫᚱᚲᚣᛁᛞᚨ (Heljarkviða) – 44:00
1. ᛳ᛬ᚺᛖᛚᚣᛖᚷᛁ (Á helvegi) – 19:59
2. ᚻᛖᛚᚷᚱᛁᚾᛞᚱ᛬ᛒᚱᛟᛏᚾᚨᚱ (Helgrindr brotnar) – 24:01
Released physically in late 2016, this otherworldly folkish black metal release came to us digitally early in 2017. This release is profound and empowering, but it’s brought down somewhat by its synthesized instruments; namely, yet again, the drums. However, if you can go past this minor detail, you’ll find a tremendous two-part song on this album.


The Grand Astoria
The Grand Astoria Meets the Finest Moscow Sound Explorers
1-1. Homeless – 47:05
Song one of the collaborative work between The Grand Astoria and the finest Moscow sound explorers!


Visions of Ulnahar
Lovecraftian Mystic
6. Hastur – 47:18
This bonus track to Lovecraftian Mystic is almost fifty minutes long, and it’s an extensive ambient electronic piece with glitch aesthetics and a quasi-romantic construction.


Kerala
Biorealizations
Biorealizations – 47:41
1. Microbia – 10:12
2. Multicellularis – 11:24
3. Serpentium – 11:52
4. Mammalia – 14:13
The “Biorealizations” tetralogy is perhaps the crowning achievement of avant-garde death metal duo Kerala. This newest piece encompasses the whole spectrum of life, or almost. Counterintuitively enough, the organocentric endeavour sounds very synthetic – with programmed drums and digital-sounding distortions. Oh, well, perhaps it only means that “Part Ⅴ: Transhumanum” is implied across all the four parts present here. Maybe, just maybe, it’s deeper than it seems!


Boring Bathtimes
Loss
1. Loss – 48:14
Loss is a monstrous experimental folk piece with many people involved other than the usual man behind this solo project. Digging a lot into noise and other experimental aspects of music, this is a true soundtrack to the inner workings of a distressed mind. I recommend this, but be cautious.


Ariadne
Stabat Mater
Stabat Mater – 49:50
1. Wounds Renew – 3:00
2. Mother Weeping – 3:57
3. Nourishment – 3:34
4. She Beneath – 0:51
5. Burning Sphere – 1:10
6. Fragile Veils – 2:14
7. Black Vein – 1:57
8. On Your Knees – 5:09
9. Shell – 1:24
10. Fount of Love – 4:40
11. Pierce Me Through – 1:09
12. Nailed to My Body – 2:06
13. Veil of Water – 0:53
14. Scab – 2:43
15. Grief Divine – 2:20
16. Fetus Lily – 4:46
17. Cast Down the Flesh of Your Body – 1:30
18. Feeble Heart – 2:28
19. Half-Open Mouth – 1:40
20. Streams of Mercy – 2:30
Although it is in twenty parts, “Stabat Mater” really is one unified whole, and what an experience it is! The electronic music duo goes wild on this release, consisting of sampled and sung vocals. If entrancing as an adjective should ever be used, it is for this very song and album. I’ve just recently written all my thoughts on it elsewhere on this website, so I won’t do it again; just know that it’s amazing and important that you listen to it!


Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal
Under the Influence Suite
[Listen to previews of the song here.]
Under the Influence – 51:12
Part Ⅰ: For Kenny Wheeler – 16:41
1. Ouverture – 1:16
2. Starbright – 15:25
3. Part Ⅱ: For Jan Jarczyk – 6:20
Part Ⅲ: For John Coltrane – 9:29
5. Drum Interlude – 1:34
6. Leap – 7:55
7. Part Ⅳ: For Lee Kanitz – 5:56
Part Ⅴ: For Wayne Shorter – 12:45
8. Anthem – 5:38
9. Chant – 7:07
This is a massive ode to many jazz musicians made by the world-renowned ONJM (Orchestre national de jazz de Montréal), spanning five influential figures. There really isn’t much to say about it, it’s perfect, it’s beautiful, it’s a majestic piece of orchestral jazz that belongs in everyone’s library!


Daira
Vipreet Buddhi
साइड बी (Side B) – 51:35
2-1. युवा प्रतिनिधि (Yuva Pratinidhi) – 11:19
2-2. कुसी (Kursi) – 2:49
2-3. देखो लाल गया (Deko Lāal Gaya) – 5:00
2-4. स्वयसेवक (Swayamsevak) – 2:59
2-5. ताज़ी कब्र (Tāazi Kabr) – 4:01
2-6. मंदिर वहीं बनाएंगे (Mandir Wahin Banāyenge) – 9:26
2-7. जापानी तेल [ दिन यें चूध, रात यें इोर ] (Japani Tel) – 13:42
2-8. विनाशकाल (Vināashkāl) – 2:19
Side B of Daira’s sophomore release is not conducted, therefore it is more of a free-flowing jam that really goes to many different places. It’s always interesting to listen to seasoned musicians let completely loose, so… enjoy!


Mossenek
Paranoia Plague Shrine
4. Deceiver’s Legion – 52:46
Once again we see Mossenek. This piece is even longer than the previous one, still filled with avant-garde goodies!


Bolt Gun
Man Is Wolf to Man
Man Is Wolf to Man – 53:56
1. Part 1 – 30:45
2. Part 2 – 23:10
The first part of this progressive doom or post-metal release alone was long enough to be featured on this list; the whole song is even more so! This is a high quality gem of slow progressive rock, at times psychedelic, atmospheric, suicidal, noisy, and hopeless. And… it’s out through Art as Catharsis!


惘闻 (Wǎng wén)
奇‧迹‧寻‧踪 (Qíjī xún zōng, or, In Course of the Miraculous)
奇‧迹‧寻‧踪 (Qíjī xún zōng, or, In Course of the Miraculous) – 55:16
1A-1. Part 1 – 11:45
1B-1. Part 2 – 12:46
2A-1. Part 3 – 7:08
2B-1. Part 4 – 12:44
3A-1. Part 5 – 10:54
惘闻 (Wǎng wén) perhaps call for post-post-rock… Their music is so ambient and atmospheric, ethereal and intangible that it’s difficult to pinpoint anything about it. However, the soundscapes of 奇‧迹‧寻‧踪 (Qíjī xún zōng, or, In Course of the Miraculous) are really beautiful, even if nebulous.


Lumen et tenebrae
Oceans of Blood
Oceans of Blood – 63:45
5-1. Part 1 – 21:46
5-2. Part 2 – 23:54
5-3. Part 3 – 18:05
Remember when I wrote about this positively absurd five-disc experimental black metal album – debut album? Well, it deserves itself a spot on this list for an hourlong three-piece suite on its fifth and final CD. It’s a really powerful and bleak composition that closes the gargantuan album in the only way it could.


Huszar
Providencia
Providencia – 65:02
1. Grimhetoimasia – 5:13
2. Todos los hipersueños hacia… – 18:54
3. La flora que crece alrededor de nuestras catedrales – 7:25
4. De los cometas en llama hicimos vuestro culto – 7:39
5. El llanto del último de los artesanos celestiales – 16:11
6. Viscera Saturnis (Grimhetoimasia) – 9:39
Perhaps the single longest piece of blackgaze music comes from the Argentine solo project Huszar. Under this name, Marc Huszar has made some truly great music, only hindered by the use of synthesized drums. However, I think that this release is well deserving of the time it will take to listen to it.


The Grand Astoria
The Grand Astoria Meets the Finest Moscow Sound Explorers
Homeward – 67:47
2-1. Part 1 – 23:15
2-2. Part 2 – 44:32
The middle part of this album, the last on this list, had to be actually split into in order to fit bandcamp’s size limit for song uploads (which sits at around 60 minutes for a WAV file). Impressive!


Fen
Winter
Winter – 75:04
1. Pathway – 17:16
2. Penance – 10:03
3. Fear – 10:40
4. Interment – 15:07
5. Death – 12:46
6. Sight – 9:46
I already wrote that Winter is one of the best progressive black metal albums out there, and one more reason to listen to it is just because of its sheer length.


Bell Witch
Mirror Reaper
Mirror Reaper – 83:16
1-1. As Above – 48:13
2-1. So Below – 35:03
You might be mistaken for thinking that Bell Witch’s much-talked about Mirror Reaper double album was the longest single track of 2017 on our list. The funeral doom of Bell Witch is at its most massive, here, with one song not fitting onto one single disc, yet they must incline themselves before the most ambitious release of 2017…


Lost Salt Blood Purges & Boring Bathtimes
Yellow Fog Sword
Yellow Fog Sword – 87:40
First Movement: ‘The Violent Light, the Soft Luminescence, and the Expanding Earth.’ – 26:07
A-1. The Violent Light – 14:49
A-2. The Soft Luminescence – 4:03
A-3. And the Expanding Earth – 7:15
Second Movement: ‘Ritually Fallen Leaves Lay before a Village That Dreams but Never Sleeps. The Water Leads the Way to Small Dead Souls That Build upon the Bed of the River.’ – 24:21
A-4. Ritually Fallen Leaves – 6:00
A-5. Lay before a Village That Dreams but Never Sleeps – 10:04
A-6. The Water Leads the Way – 3:28
A-7. To Small Dead Souls That Build upon the Bed of the River – 4:49
Third Movement: ‘The Tower, Centred in Saltless Plains, the Sorceress, Hiding in Its Highest Chamber, and the Yellow Fog Sword That Leaves Shan’xi in Eternal Sleep.’ – 37:12
B-1. The Tower, Centred in Saltless Plains – 3:48
B-2. The Sorceress, Hiding in Its Highest Chamber – 7:20
B-3. And the Yellow Fog Sword – 14:04
B-4. That Leaves Shan’xi in Eternal Sleep – 12:00
Yes. This is it. Two artists that were already included in this here list are at the top (or bottom?) of it with their collaborative effort, the life-changing Yellow Fog Sword. It’s not so much an album as it is a soundtrack to a novelette written by Lost Salt Blood Purges’ Michael Snoxall, which also comes in a PDF file along with the download of the album. It transcends genre and classification, and totally supports the story written in the booklet. I’ve already written it in my review/analysis of the album, but the music takes a whole new meaning when listened to at the same time as you read it. I cannot state this enough, but you must go and live that experience for yourselves; there is no excuse, the album is available for voluntary contribution on bandcamp! What are you waiting for?

On December 15 2017, this entry was posted.
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