Review: Captain Blind Chameleon ‘Tales Of A Floating Man’

Tom Penaguin is a guitarist in the stoner rock band Djiin and the keyboardist in prog/space rock/proto-punkers Orgöne who released one of the finest albums of the year with the epic Mos/Fet. Now Tom has a solo project by the name of Captain Blind Chameleon where he is responsible not only for the music, but also the production and  artwork. Speaking of artwork the cover features a photo of what looks to be part of a satellite space station that ties into the theme of the album.

Captain Blind Chameleon 'Tales Of A Floating Man'

The record is a concept piece comprised of two suites narrating the story of a random man sent into space. As things go awry, he starts to experience the five stages of grief and takes a front-row seat to the Floating Man thought experiment by Avicenna. Avicenna, otherwise known as Ibn Sina, was a Persian polymath who lived during the latter part of the 10th century/early 11th, while the floating man is a reference to a thought experiment conducted by him to argue for the existence of a soul.

The first suite opens with Part 1 – Awakening and recalls Pink Floyd at their heaviest ala The Nile Song with a dose of stoner desert rock for good measure. Part 1 – The Launch is a blistering, thrilling ride that comes in at a mere two minutes twenty two seconds and reminds one a little of Queens of the Stone Age at their heyday, mixed in with Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine and it’s as good as it sounds.

Part 1 – Collision has a slower pace and starts with some mind blowingly excellent Steve Hackett styled soloing and betrays a 70s Genesis feel. From there the track starts to settle into some traditional doom ala Black Sabbath and Pentagram with Tom’s Roger Waters styled vocals layered in beautifully over the top. Outstanding. We reach the final track of the first suite and the longest on the album Part 1 – Realisation. There’s a King Crimson/Robert Fripp influence present, albeit imbued with a hazy stonerized vibe. I have no idea whether Mr Fripp and his cohorts indulged in substances, but if they did then the music here would be the resultant output.

The flow is astounding, it feels effortless and has an energy and charm lacking from a lot of present day prog influenced bands…

We then hit the Grief Suite, as I call it, commencing with Part 2 – Denial, alternating between mellow Pink Floyd Ummagumma era and first Killing Joke album with the spikier post-punk riffing. An intriguing yet effective mix. Part 2 – Angst is the shortest track on the entire album at one minute thirty four seconds and has a grungy intonation, that from the off, reminded me of Layne Staley and Alice In Chains during the heavier moments with the grinding Guitar work, while the prog-metal section evoked Voivod.

Part 2 – Negotitation sounds a bit like Josh Homme fronting Mahavishnu Orchestra, wild McLoughlin soloing and incredibly proficient drumming that Billy Cobham would be proud off. Part 2 – Depression is like a Dark Side Of The Moon bonus track, the glorious expansiveness combining with an emotiveness not heard on the preceding numbers. Final track Part 2 – Acceptance in an instrumental that sounds like a compilation of all the best 70s prog moments meshed into one, thus concluding the album on a high.

If you enjoyed Orgöne there is every chance you’ll appreciate this fantastic record. The flow is astounding, it feels effortless and has an energy and charm lacking from a lot of present day prog influenced bands. For an album that was recorded, mixed and mastered in the creator’s bedroom, the results are more than impressive.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Reza Mills