A History of Madness presents a further maturation of the band’s sound. Its warm, organic sound is due in part to the inclusion of acoustic instruments in the mix, which is also interwoven with electronic sounds and samples. The album includes two soundscape pieces, “War on Terra” and “Le Gouffre”, that leader Mike Johnson maintains: “are really a departure for me, or a beginning, as it were, in that they are my first really serious forays into the realm of semi-composed, sonic environments rather than organized pieces or songs." The line up is Mike Johnson (guitars), Deborah Perry (vocals), Dave Willey (bass and accordions), Dave Shamrock (formerly of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) (drums), Mark Harris (reeds) and Matt Mitchell (piano, harmonium, synths) with contributions from other musicians, including Dave Kerman (percussion), Ron Miles (trumpet), Mark McCoin (samples and soundscapes) and others. The album’s magic reveals itself on multiple listenings, in exploring the work’s threads like currents in a stream. However, a single listen will suffice to leave most spellbound.
Alternative Press placed Thinking Plague, "...in the vanguard of groups riding the crest of a largely unheralded avant-progressive tsunami... an idiom responsible for some of the 20th century’s most significant musical achievements. ...the manner in which Thinking Plague...have condensed only the most fertile (and often the most pulverizing) aspect of the last 30 years of progressive exploration into an nth-degree endgame is nothing short of awe-inspiring."
released 16 September 2003
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