Elder, Reflections of a Floating World

Elder, Reflections of a Floating World*

John Fisher, December 30, 2018

I typically write a review while listening to the album. For this last 2018 spin of Elder’s 2017 masterpiece, I took a good few rips of recreation. There is something special about its pairing with music. Listening to my favorite music, surfing 3-5 foot clean waves at Pacifica Beach for a few early morning hours, snowboarding at Kirkwood without the crowds on Christmas day, cleaning the house…all much better with a little enhancement. Elder’s Reflections of a Floating World seems to be the perfect album to escape and snowboard alone all day a little stony at Kirkwood.

What a year it was! (I need to go to my Instagram to figure out what was going on in my life about a year ago…) Awww yes, last year I was in Tahoe with Claire and did the “Buffalo plaid” Christmas with a smaller family group. I remember at this time I was right in the middle of my “adventures with Claire” phase as a single Dad. I was surfing and mountain biking more than I am now. Based on pictures I was also in better shape this time last year without the double chin and beer belly creeping back in. I’ll probably need to get back into that shape at some point in 2019…I can’t give up the fight yet!

Times have changed from last year. The biggest news…Momma moved back in, and we are working on things. I have learned a lot over the years, and I hope everything will work out for us and our sweet little non-traditional family.

That’s it for the autobiographical stuff. I have a whole lot more on my mind, but I’ll hold off because it’s time to give this album its due credit. I have been jamming this record a while now, ever since it made my pick for February. I also made a new rule for my little “one vinyl per month” game: last year’s releases are still in play. Elder released this album on June 2, 2017, and I missed it last year. I think I gave it a shot with a quick listen, and thought, “damn, this band is pretty good.” But, for whatever reason, I passed. Good thing for that new rule change, because this album stood out a year later above all the rest.

This is the most unique album I found in 2018. “Sanctuary” could easily have had three different acceptable endings within the song. When credits seem to roll for the second time, a distant riff makes its way through the mist, slowly growing in strength. That one riff developed over the next few minutes creates a fantasy portal into a different world, one where I am fully focused on the music and not real life. I once referenced the last riff of “Sanctuary” in a meaningless conversation to prove an argument about the joy of repetition in metal. The two-to-three-minute ending of “Sanctuary” is essentially a layered extension of one riff.

“The Falling Veil” and “Staving off Truth” are such a critical 2-3 punch. The finish to the latter is exceptional…

“Are we waiting just to leave? Is there an answer which eludes? We stand upon a floating world…simply staving off the truth”

…Aaahh! So good!

“Blind” has an ALBUM DEFINING finish, yet this is only track 4 of 6. The repeat riff for a final four count with the squeal to close?! I love the finish to “Blind,” a standout on the album for me. I noticed similarities in the appearance of the vinyl lyric sheet to Close to the Edge by Yes. I wonder if that iconic Yes album had an influence on these guys? It would definitely make a lot of sense to me.

Track 5, Sonntag, is a perfect interlude, and feels like a well-deserved jam sesh for these gifted musicians before finishing things off with the well balanced “Thousand Hands.”

“Thousand Hands” has such a great opening line… “THERE STANDS AN ALABASTER THRONE!” goes so well with that section.

Elder…I have nothing bad to say about Reflections of a Floating World…for me, it is a MASTERPIECE and my album of the year for 2018.

Also, quick New Year’s Resolution to get it down on paper…I need to get back into shape by the end of the year. I guess I will be joining the masses at the gym in January. Hopefully I can sneak in a few more of those THC + Elder + Kirkwood days too.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and I wish you a great 2019.

Pat FisherComment