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Hollow Ship (Sweden) – Utsuro Bune (Hollow Boat) (single)

Hollow Ship return two years after the release of their album ‘Future Remains’, and with their first piece of new music since then, ‘Utsuro Bune’, who I thought was the centre forward for Brentford.

Mr Google couldn’t help me translate this one but a little piece of digging unearthed the story of Utsuro-bune (虚舟), which translates as ‘hollow boat’, and which was an unknown object that was allegedly washed ashore in 1803 in Japan’s Hitachi province. Accounts of the incident appear in numerous texts of the time.

According to the legend, a young woman arrived aboard the ‘hollow boat’ on February 22, 1803. Fishermen brought her inland, but she was unable to communicate in Japanese. The fishermen returned her and her vessel to the sea, like you do, and it drifted away, never to be seen again.

Historians, ethnologists and physicists have discussed the legend as part of a longstanding tradition within Japanese folklore. And – here’s the catch – some UFOlogists have claimed that the story is evidence of a close encounter with extraterrestrial life. Play the five tones!

So it isn’t only David Vincent who knows the Invaders are already here. (If you know what I’m talking about, you’re old!)

And as it turns out the legend of Utsuro-Bune was one of the reasons the band chose their name in the first place.

All of which led me to anticipate the song would be psychy in nature and indeed Hollow Ship do have a reputation for psych as well as the appropriate ‘look’ about them.

But this one is more of a prog piece. We’ve had a few in NMC recently and it’s good to see that prog is still hanging on in there in Scandinavia, having pretty well expired in the UK.

Readers will know by now that when anyone presents a sonic instrumental piece like this the first thing I look for is if they have managed to catch the ‘essence’ of the story in the music. If there was a film made of the event would the music ‘fit’ it?

It’s packed with atmosphere for sure but the ‘story’ it might be supporting is one where the woman turns into Godzilla and starts eating Tokyo.

While their sound is very much their own you’ll hear bits of King Crimson in there, of Yes too, and a whole lot of Pink Floyd.

And they recorded it live with an 8-track tape recorder. You can’t get me authentic than that. They should be selling it at vintage clothing shops.

It is the first track in a series of songs written for their Space Motion Show, a live visual collaboration with artist and animator Freddy Wallin. And they’ve got a live date coming up at the Viva Sounds Festival on 2nd December in their home city of Gothenburg.

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