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(50:40, 'Ampledeed' )
TRACK LIST: 1. We Breathe Time 7:56 2. Super Collider Bromwich 5:25 3. It's Hard Work to Work 0:44 4. Wanders and Wonders 4:20 5. Why 6 Is Afraid of 7 3:42 6. Drum Fucking 0:20 7. Brown Hole Blues 3:35 8. Travel Guide for the Maladjusted 5:40 9. Wake of the Galaxy 5:01 10. Burning the Midnight Man Train 1:48 11. If I Come Down 3:41 12. Big Ole Bigiddy Balls 0:52 13. From Within a Tetrapathic Quasar 6:22 14. Dragon Lance 6:14 LINEUP: Aaron Goldich – vocals’ keyboards Max Taylor – vocals; keyboards, bass Luis Flores – guitars; vocals With: Colin Kupka – saxophone Isaac Watts – drums &: Three additional musicians on bass and vocals
Prolusion. The US band AMPLEDEED was formed back in 2011, the result of a series of late night jam sessions that eventually led to the formation of a band unit with the threesome of Aaron, Max and Luis as the permanent members. Following a creative phase the threesome enlisted some musician friends to record the album’s worth of material they had assembled, and the end result was self-released in 2013 as the CD "A Is for Ampledeed".
Analysis. The creative core trio of Ampledeed appears to be fairly young musicians. Pictures don't always reveal the truth in such matters, of course, but if they do so in this case, these guys are really young dudes. But this isn't a case of creative young men out to change the world, at least not in terms of music, but rather a trio that appears to have a deep respect, love and fascination for the music of yesteryear and beyond. The final destination of their journey on this occasion sometime in the early 70's. Retro-oriented rock is a big thing these days, and has been so for quite some time. There are hundreds if not thousands of bands out there exploring similar music as the giants, who established certain sounds and styles back in the day when rock music was still developing at a breakneck speed, and Ampledeed has chosen to hone in on one of the territories from back then that hasn't gotten quite as much attention as others, namely eclectic, experimental progressive rock. More specifically honing on one some of the bands and some of the styles that widened the structural and sonic palettes rock bands and musicians used back then. A key ingredient throughout are jazz- and jazz-rock-oriented details. From keyboards, guitars, drum or bass providing patterns and motifs in that direction individually or collectively to specific movements that are more defined in those traditions in general and then jazz-rock in particular. This is combined with progressive rock of a more experimental scope, following the cues of King Crimson to some extent and Robert Fripp's approach to guitar playing in particular, while the compositions as such as well as some other sequences come across as closer to the music a band like Gentle Giant explored a few albums in to their career. Add in occasional visits to vintage symphonic progressive rock, and the greater majority of the stylistic canvas Ampledeed utilizes have been described. One should also note that Ampledeed appears to use vintage instruments, or at least instruments that have been set up to sound like vintage instruments, so that the mood and atmosphere of the early 70's is a distinct and characteristic feature throughout. Occasional use of synths or keyboards with a more modern sound and some guitar details that also appear to have an origin a bit after this time period do add a few intriguing touches to an album that otherwise comes across as a time capsule, but these latter details can be regarded as arguable, and aren't given any dominant placement in the arrangements either, so they can't really be described as prominent or dominant. The end result is a clever and charming production. At times perhaps a tad too clever for its own good, although that is a matter open for discussion, and of course subject to personal opinion as well. It is a well made album however, and a production that should see this fine US band get itself quite a few fans.
Conclusion. "A Is for Ampledeed" is an album title that speaks volumes for the self-confidence of this young US trio, and at least to some extent, I'd vouch for that confidence to have a firm foundation too. The minor reservation is first and foremost a question of whether or not you find vintage sounding progressive rock to be interesting or not. If you do, and especially if you enjoy bands such as Gentle Giant and King Crimson mixed with jazz-rock and jazz-oriented details, Ampledeed is a band that merits a check.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 22, 2014
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