Audiosyncrocy - Audiosynchrocy


Year of Release: 2002
Label: Self-released
Catalog Number: 93834-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:12:00

While I can't say it's uniquely American, there is a avenue of progressive rock that to date I have only heard from American bands. It is a slightly eccentric, jazz influenced, and often pointed lyrically style that I don't doubt has some roots with Frank Zappa - and whomever influenced him. In this category of progressive rock, or, lets not be so precise, progressive music, we find Bubblemath, Krakatoka, French TV, Mike Keneally and now add Audiosynchrocy. There is an energy to the band's music that at times could be described as fervent, except for a track or two, but I'll get to that. You do get some "traditional" prog rock elements, but they are put into a context that takes them out of that "traditional" prog milieu. That is, a particular keyboard passage here, a guitar lead there? There's a lot to enjoy here - and I have been. Many of the albums tracks have been stuck in my head, running through constantly.

Audiosynchrocy are a Southern California band featuring Dudley Brooks on guitars and vocals; Trevor Lloyd on keyboards, 5-string electric violin, and vocals (one whom sounds often like David Bowie, at least on the opening track "Merrily Barreling Through Barely"); Jake Feldman on bass (son of jazz artist Victor Feldman, by the way); and Rob Canny on drums and percussion. That song title in the parenthetic comment above is an apt description for this album (composed by Feldman), as we begin with rolling piano and pleasantly squealing violin. Vocal lines intertwine during the jazzy choruses, that I'm sure is why Gentle Giant has been mentioned in passing about this band. Though I think it's either the keyboards or the violin, you swear there's some brass in the mix, too. And Lloyd has a very sweet sounding violin.

The most eccentric piece is the second track, the paranoic "Turn It Down" (composed by Lloyd) which goes from nearly shouted, agitated parts to some very warm, calm parts - both vocally and instrumentally. And in listening, you get a particularly funky drum rhythm from Canny, and a quietly throbbing bass from Feldman. The tart "That Constant Game" begins with a phrase played on violin, picked up guitar for several measures, and then taken over by keys (that have a symphonic, proggy-Emersonian tone to them), only to be given back to the guitar for the vocal sections. And except for that tart guitar, we might kinda mention Spock's Beard here (early Spock's Beard). Guest Trevor Feldman plays a tinkly vibraphone.

But things aren't all "fun n' games" - though never dull - as the band make some serious instrumental music with "Aerial View" and the sublime "Road To Euphoria" - both of which seem out of place, in some respects, when set against the other pieces. The first is a smoother, lush instrumental piece? mainly a guitar and keyboard soundscape, that belies more of that Emersonian influence. And that influence is heard elsewhere, only Lloyd's parpy phrases aren't quite as shrill and unpleasantly sharp as found some of Emerson's classic ELP pieces. But Brooks is a great guitar bender, the strings being contorted you can almost see it, and see his fingers work the strings ? a credit to the great production on this CD. "Aerial View" segues seamlessly into the darker, more churning "Road To Euphoria."

"You, He, She It" is another vocal track, similar to "That Constant Game" - a mellow yet somewhat quirkly piece. It ends, however, with an instrumental section that begins with an aching, sweet violin, on that suggests some underlying sadness. Brooks' quick guitar notes are played like furtive glances in all directions ? An upbeat phrase towards the end, with both guitar and violin together, suggest a happy end. Oddly enough, when I was first making notes, I had this down as "Searching?" and it would fit that title perfectly. "Searching?" however is a somber, and serious, piano based piece, the piano tones warm, thoughtful. It's what might be termed modern classical? of course, names like David Lanz and George Winston come to mind, but only by association, as although Lloyd's playing is fluid, his tone and style is, at least to my ears, much different. A beautiful piece of music, composed by Lloyd.

"Let It Ring" is jazz-fusiony, with impossibly quick violin flutters from Lloyd, backed by what sounds like electric piano, giving it a "classic" feel. The meter is quick and lively, though I'm really bad at quoting signatures, it ain't 4/4. It does going into a more atmospheric interlude - what you might say proggy, in a way, in a classic Genesis/Marillion kind of way. It's darker, slower paced, with Brooks guitar proving sparsing, chiming accents. Here we hear some interesting (more interesting) percussion from Canny - who those I've not mentioned him much, is very much a key in making all this work. If it were to make another - and better - comparision, I'd say Djam Karet, too, especially in the darkness of the music and feel. With the added element of violin.

The album concludes with "House Of Broken Mirrors" a cinematic piece that, with the sustained keyboard notes and "off" violin phrases, would be perfect for a horror film soundtrack. Yes, there's tension there, something is going to happen, and when it happens, it will probably be a little Fellini-esque. It's lasts all of 2:40? but it seems longer, not in a bad way, but like good drama should be? letting you wonder will one survive. It's horror of the classic sort - Lugosi, Chaney, etc. or even? today's current suspense hero, M. Night Shyamalan.

Great stuff, this. Highly recommended no matter what your proggy tastes are. Hail California's new avant-jazz-fusion-classical-prog heroes!


Tracklisting:
Merrily Barreling Through Barely (6:04) / Turn It Down (4:30) / That Constant Game (5:14) / Aerial View (2:07) / Road To Europa (8:20) / You, He, She, It! (5:57) / Searching? (4:21) / Let It Ring (7:19) / House Of Broken Mirrors (2:40)

Musicians:
Trevor Lloyd - keyboards, 5 string electric violin, vocals
Dudley Brooks - guitars and vocals
Jake Feldman - basses
Rob Canny - drums and percussion

Discography:
Audiosynchrocy (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: July 25th 2004
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website:
Hits: 974
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]