How Mariusz Duda finds any spare time is a complete mystery. Not only the vocalist for Polish prog behemoths Riverside, Duda simultaneously has steered his own solo outings under the moniker of Lunatic Soul through alternate sonic landscapes. Despite most assuredly earning some downtime after the former’s most successful year, Lunatic Soul now return on yet another direction.
In stark contrast to Riverside’s previous album Shrine Of New Generation Slaves (InsideOut) and its more overt signs of 70’s rock worship, Walking On A Flashlight Beam (KScope) virtually eschews all remnants of guitars from its palette, relying instead of ambient electronica and synths, with drums and bass. Both bands may still be tied in their sense of mood and melancholy, and of course the shared talents of Duda’s distinctive and delicate tones, but otherwise they veer to different paths.
Opener ‘Shutting Out The Sun’ begins in an unassuming manner, with the sounds of light, crashing waves before it builds upon layers of effects and synths, shaping to an altogether more crowded form. WOAFB sees Duda really open up in creativity, from the almost tribal drum beats on ‘Gutter’ to the Eastern tinged melodies within ‘Pygmalion’s Ladder’, all still maintaining the album’s wispy atmosphere. Of course the star is without doubt Duda’s voice which conveys an almost unmatched sense of fragility and emotion in modern prog.
Whereas Riverside’s last venture saw the influence of the likes of Deep Purple, WOAFB draws a lot more from the likes of Tangerine Dream, both in its synth based structure and also in its ambience and inventiveness. Showcasing in its beauty a plethora of ideas which may be in some ways far removed from the more famous of Duda’s bands yet not alienating to its fans, WOAFB is evidence enough of Duda’s claim as one of modern prog’s great minds.