Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nick Brooke Border Towns Innova 2013

I don't have a problem wit a conceptualized release as long as I can tell the direction the artists is at the very least, intending to go with their ideas. Nick Brooke exceeds and perhaps raises the bar with his epic tale of Bordertowns. The most intriguing concept at work here is the fusion of voices and the fine line between popular culture and the compositional D.N.A. of this most eclectic of pieces yet it all strangely fits. Seven voices deconstructing familiar and relevant music into a genre all their very own.

Instead of naming this somewhat mysterious genre a series of adjectives may help the potential listener decide if perhaps this release may be right up their sonic alley. Adventurous, organic, and whimsical might be the first three adjectives to describe the music which contains yodels, anthems, ambient layers of texture & broadcasts from the fringe of culture yet once again they all somehow fit together into a musical gumbo where each bite may have slightly different ingredients and flavor but everything seems to work together in a harmonious cohesion of musical harmonics gone wild.

The inspiration for this work much like the inspiration for the popular group ZZ Top are the border towns in Southern Texas that have the capability to pick up pirate radio coming out of Mexico where there are no limits on programming, just limits on how far the imagination will take you. These pirate stations were outside U.S. jurisdiction with some having signals reaching as far north as Minnesota and New York City and influencing countless musician starting in the mid to late 1950's.

Border Town is essentially a modern day suite or as those that are slightly more hip in nature would refer to it as a mash up of familiar and obscure sonic adventures along with every day noises to make an incredibly unique and cohesive score but taking a more free form approach to their craft. A uniquely harmonious without getting hung up in harmonic theory at music of musical American from the 1940's to changes still occurring in the great American subculture today.

For this critic, I have stepped outside my comfort zone, burned down my wheelhouse and have allowed myself to wipe my sonic blank slate clean in an effort to appreciate work that while eclectic in nature, has a distinct lyrical direction in spite of the myriad of influences that Brook draws from and utilizes to tell his story.

Different is never bad just different. Cover art gets an A, compositional some of the tunes are reminiscent of John Cage on steroids, thematic development for a conceptualized piece would also earn an A. In my hometown of Louisville, Ky. we had an Independent record store that sold bumper sticks that read "Let's Keep Louisville Weird." The same sticker would apply to this release with the exception of replacing "weird" with "different." Everything in my classically trained mind tells me I should not like this record on any level yet much like a girl that can play with your mind and take you places you have never been, I keep coming back for more.

4 out of 5 Stars!    
Silver City
Ocean Grove
Del Rio
Heart Butte
Grand Isle

Nick Brooke
Laura Bohn
Michael Chinworth
Chris Giarmo
Laryssa Husiak
Kamala Sankaram
Laura Stinger
Dax Valdes