Electrum - Standard Deviation

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Net Dot Music
Catalog Number: NDM2002
Format: CD
Total Time: 46:21:00

When a band states that two of its instrumentals are based on certain treatises of Friedrich Nietzche, you know you're not going to be getting any lightweight musical frivolity anytime soon. Not only that, however, but the suspicion that the aforementioned work is going to be quite involved and thematically schizophrenic should also enter the picture for the sake of preparation. Ah yes, welcome to the world of Electrum and its sophomore effort Standard Deviation, a collection of precise and intricately arranged instrumentals devised to get the listener's brain toiling away at the musical nuts and bolts that are pieced together here like sharply fabricated counterparts and laid down for posterity.

Yet philosophy according to Nietzche should not constitute the background to this briefly worded exploration of the album, but rather the field of mathematics, which seems to pretty much dominate the focus of this American trio's attention and conduct it into careful calculation. Not only in terms of odd meters, runs, thematic changes, and instrumental precision, but more importantly in how Dave Kulju, Joe Musmanno, and Gino Foti each allow themselves only the exact amount of time needed and with the exact right timing to demonstrate their respective skills, with all the remaining time dedicated to forging one single instrumental entity out of their collaborative efforts. In other words, these guys play what needs to be played; nothing more, nothing less.

Certainly not a bad quality to have in a field of music in which it is almost too tempting and easy to engage in reckless overplaying, and one that reaps its benefits particularly with Foti's ability to create a solid and dynamic harmonic backdrop every single time and then lock on to Musmanno's drums in a split second. Moreover, it is a precious characteristic to rely on when one considers the fact that tracks such as "The Will To Power" and "A Fugue State" are in a constant condition of change and thus in constant need of such harmonic coherence. And by the time the listener is introduced to the pensive sweetness of "Degrees Of Freedom," the dire tension of "A Tense Bow...A Moving Target," and the angry and almost jarring attitude of "Apartment Living," it's pretty obvious that the coherence of Electrum's music is due to the perfectly calculated and designed intentions of its creators.

A bit too perfectly, perhaps. While there is really not much to be faulted within the clever construction of Standard Deviation and its instrumental variation, there is a sense of excitement that is generally absent from the proceedings. True, one can almost touch the ethereal delicateness of "Degrees Of Freedom," and the thematic changes within its instrumental comrades carry within themselves a certain emotional impact, but the album nonetheless sounds too matter-of-factly. Perhaps it could be that mathematics just held the grip of interest all too firmly this time around, but regardless of that shortcoming, the end result is quite interesting, and doubtlessly a good display of the balance and understanding of tension and release that this trio possesses.

Similar Artists: The Dark Aether Project, Ron Jarzombek

The Will To Power (8:42) / Degrees Of Freedom (5:47) / A Tense Bow...A Moving Target (3:34) / The Impudent Piece Of Crockery (4:45) / A Fugue State (6:50) / Apartment Living (2:09) / Seven Falls, Eight Rises (14:34)

Dave Kulju - guitars, keyboards
Joe Musmanno - drums, percussion
Gino Foti - gass, keyboards

Frames Of Mind (1998)
Standard Deviation (2002)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin CA

Added: June 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.electrum.org
Hits: 1688
Language: english


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