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«In the beginning, there was nothing. No Swamp, no frogs, no sound, no light…». That is how the story of «Cosmos», begins, the fifth album of Belgian reeds player-composer Joachim Badenhorst’s international, experimental jazz-prog rock-post rock-ambient-noise ensemble, Carate Urio Orchestra. The album tells about a colorful voyage into the deepest regions of the universe, where the last living swamp to have survived the death of earth, preserved on a little biosphere floating in outer space. Under this lonely dome live 13 species of moss, 12 of ferns, 3 frogs and one man, named Doug. In the last days of human life on Earth, Doug learns the frog language and transcribes the Holy Book of Frogdom, scrawling it into the glass walls of the biosphere.

«Cosmos» was recorded at Kunstencentrum Nona in Mechelen, Belgium, in April 2021. It tells the story of the mysterious swamp, a haven for sounds both hauntingly familiar and utterly enigmatic, created by the seven present-day Earth humans of the orchestra. The album was supposed to be released as a limited edition of vinyl plus download option but «due to the extinction of Earth’s swamps,» the vinyls will be produced later this year.

This concept album encompasses vintage sounds and compositional ideas of the seventies space-prog-rock that offered distinct sonic universes (think of early Gong’s pothead pixies) but Carate Urio Orchestra suggests its own, fresh and eccentric, genre-bending atmosphere. The imaginary story of the Great Mother of all Frogdom and her enigmatic songs that shook «the concepts of time and love and disappointment» has enough seductive and imaginative ideas that trigger Carate Urio Orchestra evocative and poetic, cinematic stories and infectious songs. In Frogdom, after the Great Mother of all Frogdom sang her last note, she died and disintegrated into the water, «and after a tear fell from the forlorn sky, the swamp began to fill with tadpoles…», but as the frogs and Doug soon found out, and Carate Urio Orchestra tells it, this may not be the end, but just the beginning.

Eyal Hareuveni

Joachim Badenhorst (cl, ts, elec, v), Jeremy Thal (frh, tp, narration), Liz Kosack (synth), Brice Soniano (b, elec), Simon Jermyn (el.b, g), Bert Cools (g), Sean Carpio (dr)

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