For English speakers ‘Gazpacho’ is a strange word. It’s a Spanish word for a cold vegetable soup. Not the most promising name for a band, you would have thought. But there is some logic in the madness, as their keyboard player explains:
“We are a very unlikely mixture of people really, not the average types you’d expect to see in the same band… So we thought gazpacho, which really is the bastard of soups (meshed up vegetables served cold), was the perfect name for our group… With Gazpacho you get a surprise, something unexpected, something out of the norm, a ‘positive’ contradiction. We feel this describes our band very well.”
Well, if you like your soup cold that seems fair enough but, personally, I’m not convinced. I want to know what that soup sounds like. Does it sing quietly to itself as it sits in the dish waiting to be consumed or does it only come to life when stirred vigorously with a spoon?
Difficult to pigeon-hole, Gazpacho’s music has been described by one critic as “classical post ambient nocturnal atmospheric neo-progressive folk world rock”. The music has been compared to A-ha, Radiohead, Marillion, Sigur Rós and Porcupine Tree.
Gazpacho’s Facebook Page
That doesn’t seem too helpful until you take your first mouthful. You can certainly taste the prog of Marillion, the art rock of Radiohead and the electronic ambience of Sigur Rós; there may be hints of A-ha and Porcupine Tree seasoning, too. And it’s good. Very good.
So Crotchety Man dug into the Internet’s back pages. And he dug deep. The Man himself has listened to all ten of Gazpacho‘s studio albums spread over several days, searching for the tastiest song to feature as a track-of-the-week. It was a pleasant, but difficult, task.
The first two albums were catalogued as solid, “middle of the rock road” fare; the rest as consistently excellent, folk-influenced progressive rock. But with each new spin it became harder to choose just one track for a special mention in these pages. And with each successive album this post’s publication date slipped a little further. In the end the search came full circle, back to the Winter Is Never video that Thomas Hatton selected for his Proglodytes blog. (Good choice, Thomas!)
The ingredients for Gazpacho (the band) came together in Norway in 1996. After abandoning their first attempt at an album they finally released their debut, Bravo, in 2003 and followed it up with When Earth Lets Go a year later. Those two albums are collections of individual five minute, vanilla rock songs – promising but not ground-breaking material. On Firebird (2005) the music takes a big step forward towards a more prog rock style and Night (2007) is that prog rock staple, the concept album – “one song split into 5 parts”. The Gazpacho recipe had been perfected.
Subsequent albums continue to serve up consistently tasty dishes to this day, both recorded and live. Last year, for example, they were on the bill for Cruise to the Edge and they have a European tour planned for October to include venues in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the UK. A new album, provisionally called Lizard, is due out at some unspecified date in the near future. Keep an eye out for it.
The aural nourishment Gazpacho offers is always appetising but one course is never enough, so this week I’m providing a complimentary bonus track in the form of this delightful video. Black Lily is from the 2012 album, March of Ghosts.
If Gazpacho has tickled your taste buds we also offer this six-course set meal from our evening menu. This is a selection of bite-size songs from albums released between 2005 and 2015. The third serving has an unusual ingredient in the form of an East Asian accordion solo. Enjoy!