ALBUM REVIEW: JORODU by JORODU

Attachment_1555599207.png

JORODU is the artistic moniker of composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jose R. Duque who is based in Miami, Florida but a native of Venezuela. Jose has been involved with numerous successful artists and projects of his own including being the drummer/percussionist for the Randy Armstrong Trio and leader of Jose Duque’s RELOAD.

He has written the score for two films released in Spain (2012 & 2013), released eleven independent albums and recorded/produced albums for artists including Corazon and Superpower. His biggest influences are great jazz and prog rock drummers such as Bill Bruford, Philly Jo Jones and Jimmy Cobb.

This eponymously titled album consists of nine instrumental tracks and musically an eclectic fusion of rock, jazz, funk, world music and electronica. Opening track, Fortuna non Omnibus Aeque, gets the album to a vibrant start. It’s an epic funk track with jazzy overtones, Jose himself putting in a stellar performance behind the kit. Built around a memorable lead guitar riff, the track features some remarkable musicianship from all involved.

Javier Espinoza contributes a superb bassline that works in perfect tandem with Jose’s crisp, incredibly fluent drumming. Smoky sounding Rhodes fills out the sound and the group take turns in expressing their remarkable virtuosity on their respective instruments. Jose himself does some mindblowing fills around the halfway mark, augmented by stunning lead guitar and electric piano solos. A great start to the album.

Second track Nulla habeo nomen is a slower, darker sounding track based around a slinky groove and an ascending low-end melody on guitar. As with the first track it’s full of musical detail and sophisticated nuance, such as the use of syncopations and accent shifts which keeps the music never less than riveting. The guitar gets crunchy and heavy in places, showing the influence of heavy rock and metal.

Ubi Umbra Vivit shows the more jazzy side to JORODU’S music, based around a quirky piano melody in a complex time signature. There is an exotic vibe to the whole track, especially the sitar-like keyboards that show the world music influence. This is one of the mellower pieces, clocking in at an epic eight and a half minutes. Jon Durant contributes fretless and cloud guitars on this one.

Verbum Dismissum is one of the album’s most funky tracks built on a punchy groove and a rolling, mellifluous bassline. This lays the platform for some Stevie Wonder-style Rhodes and some versatile lead guitar from Phil Sargent. This track is a powerful showcase for Jose’s drumming skills as he performs some breathtaking whirlwind fills around the kit and maintains the restless energy and momentum until the very end.

Victa lacet Virtus is the album’s centrepiece and biggest epic at over ten minutes long. It’s a languid and melancholy progressive jazz track featuring the evocative female vocals of Beatriz Malnic. Rather than singing lyrics, she uses her voice as an instrument in itself, often singing in tandem with the other instruments. The whole track has real atmosphere and feel, and Jose not only contributes drums but also uke bass, piano and a keyboard solo. Superb.

Ego Vade A Gades shows the Latin American influence both in the rhythmic and melodic elements. It fuses dance rhythms with jazz in a very clever and inventive way, with contrasting sections keeping the listener on their toes. There are wonderful passages of jazzy piano by Mike Effenberger and Phil Sargent plays a very exotic solo on a nylon string guitar, which adds authenticity as well as a unique musical flavour. Another highlight.

Tion, Uqbar, Orbits, Tertius is perhaps the most progressive track here music, with some fiendishly complex switches in time signatures yet accomplished with consummate ease by the musicians involved. It’s a brooding fusion that melds jazz, funk and elements of rock so you never quite know what’s coming next. This is perhaps a great track to introduce JORODU to someone as it encapsulates their wide ranging versatility and extremely high skill levels.

Eighth rack Ludo Duo is a real change of pace, a mellow, dreamy piece of bluesy jazz that makes clever use of harmonics and samples. It also displays the effectiveness of subtlety and restraint with tasteful, understated performances that gradually build in urgency, resulting in a punchy climax.

The final track on the album, Amor MCMLXXX, is by far the simplest musically but its a richly evocative and stately instrumental, with a haunting melody. It is composed and performed entirely by Jose, showing yet another side to his musical oeuvre and specifically his gift as a melodic composer and keyboardist. It’s an apposite way to conclude the album and bookends it perfectly.

Overall, this album is a tour de force of eclectic genre fusion and exceptional musicianship. Jose Duque is a phenomenal drummer, but is equally adept at several other instruments and is joined by several musical cohorts of peerless proficiency. The music itself is never less than hugely enjoyable, with a mercurial quality that keeps the listener coming back for more. This album will go down a storm with progressive jazz and rock fans but should appeal to all discerning music lovers out there.

 

VERDICT = 9.1 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:

Advertisements

ALBUM REVIEW: Howard Herrick by Howard Herrick

a2793287084_16.jpg

Howard Herrick is a songwriter and producer hailing from New Jersey. He has written music in many genres (just a few being pop, rock, jazz, blues and orchestral) both as a solo artist and as part of the group Minster Hill. He’s written and produced music for both film and theatre, including My One and Only, Vanishing on 7th Street, Very Good Girls, Nightlight and Peter Pan 360.

He’s also been Executive Music Producer on several film productions and written several label artists. Recently, he composed music for Shaquille O’ Neal’s video game Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn and is currently writing and producing music for the second series of American Beauty Star.

This eponymous solo album was entirely written and produced by Howard, who also performed (and engineered) most of the instruments, as well as mixing and mastering the music. He collaborates with various vocalists, both male and female. It consists of nine tracks and acts as an excellent showcase for his songwriting versatility and musical eclecticism.

The album starts with perhaps the most modern production, Hold My Hand. It’s a slinky pop/R&B track in a similar style to The Weeknd and mid-period Justin Timberlake.  The song is superbly crafted, highlighted by a memorable lead vocal performance, by a male singer gifted with a huge range and a powerful, distinctive falsetto.

He sings in the upper register of his voice throughout, over a simple but effective beat driven by a pulsing kick drum, along with piano and catchy synth riffs. Written in a minor key, it starts with the highly memorable chorus and lyrically deals with having faith in the strength of a relationship and facing the future without fear. Hold My Hand is an obvious choice as a single and sounds like it belongs at the top of the charts.

Show Me That One Again is a complete contrast, a poignant ballad consisting of just piano and a warm, intimate vocal. It’s a moving song about how the responsibilities of adulthood have dimmed the ebullience that the young have: “You say your owned now by some business-suited man…”.

The essence of the song is captured succinctly in the chorus: “Just remember for a little while, you once were young and had that smile, I haven’t seen it since I don’t know when, won’t you show me that one again?” Exquisitely crafted and sensitively performed, it harks back to the classic singer songwriters and confessional style of the 70’s.

Third track Go and Hear is another sharp contrast, opening in a blaze of heavy, low end electric chords and rich organ. It’s soon joined by a meaty backbeat and an edgier lead vocal that fits with the overall rock sound. It features a huge sounding chorus augmented by Queen-style stacked backing harmonies. It also features a fantastic guitar solo, bringing back the late 80’s commercial rock sound.

Behind Closed Doors recalls the 80’s again, but this time the synth pop sound which has recently come back into vogue through groups like Chvrches and The xx. This makes it one of the album’s most contemporary tracks and lyrically it is certainly the darkest, opening with the bleak lines: “I’ve fallen to the depths of despair, to the darkest of places, no one else is there….there are no familiar faces…”.

The emotional depth and honesty displayed here gives considerable power and weight to the music and shows real authenticity in terms of artistry. Starting with a guitar and bass figure, it gradually builds into an epic pop track that mirrors the gravity of the lyrics. The lead vocals are performed in different octaves, which gives it a distinctive, memorable sound. Around the three minute mark, the song breaks down to a poignant section where a ghostly sounding vocal portrays the dark emotional landscape that the song expresses.

The following New Heart is set at a similar tempo but much lighter in subject matter and musical vibe. It’s a soulful pop track with another compelling vocal performance, with use of falsetto once more on the title hook. A classy piece of pop songwriting and restores the generally upbeat mood of the rest of the album.

Sixth track Is Love Enough brought to mind the emotive style of early 70’s Todd Rundgren, but the musically colourful arrangement and unexpected chord changes made me think of one of pop’s most underrated songwriters, Jeff Lynne of E.L.O., as well as 80’s group Tears For Fears. Despite all these influences, Herrick stamps his own sonic identity aided by a particularly strong lead vocalist who delivers near the top of their  range. The numerous subtleties and details make for a piece of perfect pop that you’ll never grow tired of.

If I Fall Off The Next Step shows yet another side to Herrick’s songwriting, featuring a female lead vocalist. It’s a delicate, beautifully written acoustic ballad augmented by short bursts of Spanish guitar. Her crystalline singing voice along with with the finger-picked acoustic playing is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, and the enchanting melody makes it one of the album’s finest tracks.

Nothing Lasts Forever returns to male lead vocals and also a return to the Todd Rundgren-esque sound and style of writing. This is a track where Herrick displays his breadth of harmonic and rhythmic range, with some unpredictable chord changes and subtle use of shifting rhythms and syncopations. There’s some wonderfully jazzy chords after the second chorus that takes the music to another level of sophistication.

The album finishes with another female sung track, Sad Plant. Despite its downbeat title it’s actually an upbeat pop track that recalls elements of Stevie Nicks, Like A Prayer-era Madonna and a more modern pop group like Haim. The song has a summery feelgood vibe and ends this extremely accomplished album on a satisfying high.

Overall, this album is a masterclass in songwriting across an eclectic range of styles and proves emphatically that Howard Herrick deserves to be known as one of the most proficient and versatile songwriters of this era. With the track Hold My Hand he has a dead cert hit with sufficient promotion and there’s several other tracks that would make fine singles. But what makes the album stand out is the musical and emotional range of the songs. Highly recommended.

VERDICT = 9.2 out of 10             

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

 

Visit Howard’s official website HERE

 

 

SINGLE REVIEW: What Matters by Sienna

Sienná_WhatMatters.jpg

http://www.sienna-web.com/

Sienna is an avant-garde EDM artist who is currently based in Norway but originally hails from Japan. Her music is an inventive meld of electronica, house, jazz and traditional-contemporary Japanese. She has performed extensively across Europe over a 10 year period as both a performer and DJ. She has collaborated with renowned artists like Nils Petter Molvaer, a psychedelic trumpeter from Norway, Mick Karn, an English bassist (now deceased) and famous group The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, whom she opened for in the UK on several occasions.

This song, What Matters, is a wonderful showcase for her unique musical sound. It’s a six minute alternative electronica track that floats serenely over a blissfully laid back beat. Starting with Sienna’s evocative and distinctive vocals, she is joined by sparse but effective percussion and pulsing kick as well as subtle, ethereal synths. We also hear an exotic, Japanese instrument somewhat reminiscent of a sitar.

As the song progresses, the arrangement builds gradually with flourishes of delay-drenched piano and around the four minute mark the drums progress to a full beat. This languid groove syncs perfectly with the vocal melody, which is augmented by tight backing harmonies.

At the five minute mark prominent strings played in quartal harmony take over, bringing the music to a haunting conclusion. Lyrically, it is rather poignant, about letting go of the pain from a romantic relationship with acceptance: “Some scars don’t fade or heal easily…..may you be a bird to fly high and free…”.

Overall, this is a highly original piece of alternative electronica which captures Sienna’s unique artistry as a singer, songwriter, musician and producer. She has developed her own style and signature sound, though natural reference points would be the cinematic and dreamy sound of Lana Del Rey, along with the avant garde eclecticism of Bjork. Hopefully, enough people will get to experience the magical Sienna sound as she deserves to be widely heard and appreciated for her intoxicating, innovative art. I look forward to hearing more of her work in the future.

 

VERDICT = 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:


 

ALBUM REVIEW: Transition by Eddie Arjun

a2629633881_10.jpg

http://www.eddiearjun.com/

Eddie Arjun (formerly Arjun) is the collective name of New York-based instrumental trio, consisting of lead guitarist (and producer of this album) Eddie Arjun Peters, backed up by Andre Lyles on bass and Mike Vetter on drums.

Essentially they combine the raw expression and energy of rock and blues with the sophistication and intricacy of jazz and progressive rock, resulting in a musical fusion that is unique and original. All three members are musicians of the highest calibre and manage to balance free expression on their respective individual instruments whilst managing to interlock musically in an airtight, completely synergistic way.

Founded back in 2003, the band developed their craft over time and they eventually began releasing a trilogy of studio albums which started with Space (2013), followed by Core (2014, reviewed very favourably by yours truly) and culminating in 2016’s Gravity. These albums also featured contributions by highly regarded musicians such as E.J. Rodriguez (The Jazz Passengers, Sean Lennon), John Medeski (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy) and Jeff Coffin (Dave Mathews Band, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones).

This album, Transition, consists of eight tracks and is due for release February 1st, 2019. Opening track There It Is gets the album off to a strong start. It begins with a Jimmy Page-style rock/blues riff which for many rock bands would become enough to base a whole track around, but it forms just one of a number of melodic themes and motifs which are deployed throughout the track. It leads straight into a high-end blues/funk riff, with the simple rhythm soon displaced with syncopations. This is alternated with the low-end riff, played in tandem on the bass with a short chromatic section adding further variety.

Drummer Mike Vetter and bassist Andre Lyles soon manifest as a formidable rhythm section, both rock solid and incredibly fluid. They lay the platform for Eddie Arjun Peters’ versatile, almost otherworldly guitar skills. Halfway through the track it breaks down to an extended section where Eddie gets to show the more psychedelic Hendrix/Gilmour side to his playing, with some incredibly mellifluous runs across the neck. This is underpinned by some stunning playing from Vetter and Lyles, culminating in a jaw dropping section of virtuosity before returning to the original groove.

Second track Core opens in a blaze of Keith Moon-esque drum fills and raw guitar chords before launching into a mellow blues in 6/8 time. From this simple template, the band progress through an intricate arrangement full of nuanced dynamics where almost every bar has some clever accent placement or rhythmic motif that adds musical interest.

It then builds up to a gorgeous ascending section that Hendrix would have been proud of, the music exuding sensuality. Eddie gets to break out his wah-wah which he uses tastefully and effectively, bringing to mind the Jimi of his latter day Voodoo Chile-period.

Next comes the title track and it’s a very different beast. Opening with a taut guitar riff that keeps you hanging in suspense it then locks into a pulsing, intense groove with a continually unpredictable rhythm that shifts under your feet. This is the track where the whole band really showcase their mastery of rhythmic dynamics and their remarkable unity that almost seems telepathic but is no doubt the result of tireless rehearsing.

Here the music is more modal than pentatonic giving it a more exotic feel, though still with a strong bluesy vibe. It feels like every single note has been worked out to precision, with some astonishing moments where all three players reach a frenzy yet remain in complete control, such as the superb solo section and the frenetic climax.

The following Longass has an irresistible groove and a real strut, with the guitar and bass once again playing a funky blues riff in tandem. And again, what starts out as a seemingly simple rock/blues jam becomes a cleverly arranged epic. After the initial sections have been repeated a further section midway through takes the music into the stratosphere, with Eddie Arjun Peters breaking out the delay pedal for another skyscraping solo. Another album highlight.

Iana is more like an interlude track consisting of just a moody solo bass, acting as a lull in the storm. The next two tracks both made me think of Hendrix, but in different parts of his short career. Sixth track Ascent is a mellow jazzy blues number that recalls the Axis: Bold as Love era, specifically songs like Little Wing and Castles Made of Sand. The arrangement is very clever in how it reflects the title perfectly, gradually building up to the thrilling development section where Andre Lyles shines with some remarkably fluid bass playing, locked in perfectly with Mike Vetter’s whirlwind fills around the kit.

The following, aptly-titled Lavalust is more akin to the wild epic psychedelic rock of Electric Ladyland and is my personal favourite on the album. Kicking off with a killer slap bassline put through a phaser, this is joined by a torrent of flamboyant fills reminiscent of Mitch Mitchell. It then launches into a rock/blues masterpiece that takes all their combined compositional and arrangement skills to another level.

The breakdown section in the middle is where this track really aims for the stars though; delay-drenched lead guitar playing some mind bending runs over gradually intensifying bass and drums, as trippy as something like 1983… (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) from Hendrix’s last magnum opus. It then returns back to Earth for another fantastic section where the guitar does indeed drip like liquid lava, and the whole band is captured at their euphoric, boundary-pushing best.

Closing track Gone is a real slow burner. It starts with a languid groove that really allows the music to breathe, Vetter and Lyles play with exquisite restraint while Eddie Arjun Peters slowly weaves a spell with some deliciously dreamy guitar work. The main theme is plaintive and haunting, the arrangement gradually growing in grandeur towards one final blaze of wah-soaked guitar pyrotechnics. It continues through several sections on this subtly complex seven-minute sonic odyssey. It’s a majestic way to end the journey overall, finishing on an unexpected major chord which gives an air of completion.

Overall, this is the best album so far from this terrifically talented trio. The three members of Eddie Arjun have honed their respective skills to a very fine pitch, have developed a musical unity and synergy that few musicians ever achieve and most importantly write and perform consistently stunning music. The nuanced details and craft in the arrangement of every track means it will richly reward repeated listening and should appeal to an enormous range of rock, blues and jazz aficionados.

VERDICT = 9.3 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

SINGLE REVIEW: Prophecy (from the White Light Collection) by Tony Newton

6eed74fcf818.jpg

http://tonynewtonmusic.com/album/wlc-preview-2/

Tony Newton is a composer and multi-instrumentalist with a fascinating history anda career in the music industry that spans over thirty years. After being somewhat of a child prodigy playing in orchestras, it was as a virtuosic bass player that he played on many classic Motown recordings and can lay claim to playing on hits by Michael Jackson, Diana Ross & The Supremes and Stevie Wonder.

If that isn’t impressive enough, he also acted as musical director to Smokey Robinson and in his youth was the prize student of his bass tutor, the legendary James Jamerson (himself a Motown recording staple). He can also lay claim to being one of the creators of the Jazz-Rock-Fusion genre with Miles Davis’ drummer in the Tony Williams Lifetime. Since then he has developed his talents as a composer and even formulated his own acclaimed harmonic language which he calls ‘novaphonic sound’, which is based on quartal and quintal harmonics.

This piece for solo piano, Prophecy, is taken from his album White Light Collection. The piece announces itself with some stentorian chords, then a swirling, saturnine melodic pattern emerges in a low octave, reminiscent of the last movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata sonata. Over this repeating figure, Newton then brings Bill Evans-style jazz into the mix with some exotic quartal harmonies in the right hand. The low octave melody is then doubled creating a fierce sense of momentum before it modulates to a different key.

The piece then develops with some incredible runs and ornaments in the upper octaves, which truly show the virtuosic level of Newton’s musicianship. Around halfway through the tempest dies down and a suspenseful section emerges, featuring some lush chordal voicings and arpeggios. This is what you would term a developmental section, which reaches a climax before recapitulating to the main theme to complete a compelling six minutes.

Overall, this solo piano piece is a tour de force by an artist who made his name as a Motown musician and has developed into a composer of real genius. He has found the perfect midway point between classical and jazz, combining the focused structure of the former with the adventurous harmonies of the latter. Prophecy is not just a compositional feat but also one of considerable virtuosity as a performance. Highly recommended.

 

VERDICT = 9.2 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here:

SINGLE REVIEW: Miracle by Evolution of The Groove

13112764_545226575639164_8450438187152712844_o

https://www.facebook.com/ETGband/

Evolution of The Groove are a nine-piece fusion band founded in 2010 by Steven Cunningham and Chris Sclafani. The concept was to combine musicians from various musical backgrounds to create a unique sound. Their music is truly an original hybrid of funk, rock, R&B, hip hop, soul, gospel and jazz and their influences are eclectic as you would expect, from Jill Scott to The Beatles, from Erykah Badu to Hendrix and Miles Davis.

This song, Miracle, is the perfect apotheosis of their inimitable sound. Starting with a funky beat that sets the groove and a dirty, low end guitar riff that any hard rock/metal band would be proud to call their own, Jaylin Brown’s soulful vocals act as an effective contrast. The music explodes with full brass in the second section, full of punchy syncopations, and Jaylin gets to show her excellent vocal range.

The main hook of the track is on the verse: “Waiting every day for a miracle to come and sweep me away..”. Just when you think the sound can’t get any more varied, Chris Sclafani takes over on lead vocals, his understated tone acting as a nice counterpoint to Jaylin’s more expressive style. The song is about struggling with life’s troubles yet manages to be incredibly uplifting.

After the third verse the music really goes to another level, with the brass becoming more dominant, and in the space of a minute the music flips between jazz, funk and progressive rock, with fantastic guitar and keyboard solos from Andrew Rohlk and Nelson Valentine. It ends with one last blow out chorus and verse that leaves the listener on a high.

Overall, this band have achieved what many attempt but few achieve; they’ve fused all their eclectic styles into one giant melting pot and the result is a potent and original sound. Not only are the musicians and singers first rate, but Miracle shows their gift for writing inspirational and catchy music with depth to the lyrics. Everyone should get to experience Evolution of The Groove.

 

VERDICT =  9.4 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

Listen here:

ALBUM REVIEW: Tom Rawling’s Old Ladies Peep Show by Brad Geiger

TROLPS_HQ_Album_Cover.jpg

http://www.bradgeigermusic.com

Brad Geiger is a composer and musician from Los Angeles. Growing up, he lived in seven different towns and this itinerant life continue into adulthood. He spent years travelling across Europe and Australia, living three years overseas. He sees himself as a product of the L.A. indie/DIY scene and is also an author. In fact, this concept album is based on the fictional ancestors of characters featured in his fourth book, An Encyclopedia Of Time Traveling Criminals.

While this may sound like an unusual genesis for an album, the music contained in these eleven tracks is also rather unusual. It’s an extremely unique hybrid of rock, jazz, classical , hip hop and electronica, which has several similarities with progressive rock. But whereas prog-rock is well known for its musically epic proportions and lengthy instrumental solos, Geiger’s music is constructed and performed with the tight discipline and structure of classical music.

This is immediately manifest in the album’s opening track, Tom Rawling’s Old Ladies Peep Show Intro. Based around a jazzy, unpredictable chord progression, the track is built around swirling patterns of a clean sounding, almost jazz guitar-like synth, performed with metronomic accuracy.

It brings to mind the rock/jazz fusion of Frank Zappa who also incorporated classical elements into his music, but Geiger’s style is more symphonic and there is not a note wasted or out of place. It serves as a good introduction to both his inimitable idiosyncrasies as a composer, and to this album.

From then on, the track titles refer to the ancestors of character’s in his book, with the second track entitled Eleanor O’ Grady Rawling. This one shows the more electronic influence in his music, and how his gift for melody is juxtaposed against unexpected left turns in the music. This track develops a brooding intensity as it progresses, as swirling synths compete for attention, interacting in intricate ways.

Third track Alicia Poole O’Reilly takes the electronica style even further with a heavily dubstep-influenced sound of pounding kicks and snares, skittish, complex hi hat rhythms and edgy synths. It’s perhaps the most cutting edge, modern sounding composition here and the drum programming towards the end is superb. It’s brief at around ninety seconds but packs quite a punch.

The fourth track Alicia Poole O’ Reilly is rather more sparse and sombre in tone. A simple but plaintive piano and string melody is contrasted by a very intricate, hip hop influenced rhythm full of syncopations and triplets which gives the music a sophistication that will stand up to repeated listens. A lot of electronica fans will find much to enjoy here with this track, in particular.

Monica Duff Gallagher is another contrast, with a much more upbeat tone and ascending melody with a relatively simpler beat. The insistent way the melody is repeated brought to mind minimalist classical composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass (something akin to Koyaanisqatsi), incorporated into the electronic realm, of course.

Sixth track Rebecca Holt Smith feels like the closest to what you might call mainstream EDM, with a pounding beat that would work on the dancefloor. The synth melodies have an anthemic quality that the leading DJ/producers would be proud to call their own, though the music builds in a more intelligent way than you would find on a standard EDM record.

Angela Meaney O’ Brien is my personal favourite on the album, an intense rollercoaster ride of electronica, thrust along by dizzying synth melodies and an insistent, addictive beat. The way the music progressed reminded me of artists like Jean-Michel Jarre and the wondrous keyboard playing of Rick Wakeman.

Prog-rock fans will particularly love this. Eighth track Kelsey Cohen Powell is a distinct contrast, with a slinky laid back beat and a languid, reflective main melody. The drumming on this is excellent, with a nice groove. You could imagine future hip hop artists wanting to sample it.

Peggy Gallagher is the epic on the album at over five minutes. It starts out in a dubstep style, with a blistering beat featuring rapid-fire kick drum patterns. As it progresses, it wanders into somewhat more ambient, expansive and exploratory territory. The synth sounds start to become more distant and dreamy sounding, and there’s something about the main melody that made me think of Kraftwerk. A fascinating fusion of styles.

Molly Powell O’ Brien sounds almost like a continuation of the previous track, which is fairly common for a concept album, adding to the cohesiveness of the whole. The synth sounds on this one are rather more ‘choral’ in parts, for want of a better word. Another fine track that maintains the compositional high standard of the rest of the album.

Final track Margaret Ann O’Brien Gallagher has a certain emotional poignancy in its main melody, aided by a serene tempo. It has a kind of cinematic effect, akin to a final scene fade out, and I’d imagine probably correlates to an emotional aspect or scene in the book. There’s a nice handling of the music here, with multiple melodies interweaving, and it ends the album with a sense of understated drama.

Overall, this is an enjoyably innovative, quirky and imaginative album, all the more praiseworthy for being released in an era where the album format is a dying art. Fortunately, real artists always find a way and are prepared to go against the grain. It certainly requires a high degree of compositional skill to create an instrumental album that sustains the listeners interest throughout, as Geiger achieves here. While it’s a fine album in its own right, it intrigues the listener to know more about this multimedia project, and I look forward to further work in whatever form.

 

VERDICT: 8.4 out of 10 

Alex Faulkner

 

Listen here: