Exposé Online banner

Ampledeed — A Is for Ampledeed
((Not on label) no#, 2013, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2014-05-24:

A Is for Ampledeed Cover art Ampledeed is a young band from California State University Northridge consisting of Max Taylor (percussion and keyboards), Aaron Goldich (keyboards), and Luis Flores (guitar). It is difficult to describe the kind of music they play, which is predominantly instrumental with vocals thrown in here and there in the oddest of places across the 14 songs on their debut release. Take for instance the opening track “We Breathe Time.” This song is nearly eight minutes long and you think that it is an instrumental slab of progressive jazz with numerous time signature shifts and tight arrangements. Then after 5:45 vocals drop in your lap unexpectedly. In many of the songs I found the vocals difficult to understand as they are down in the mix. But if you go to Ampledeed’s web site you can read the lyrics, though they tend to be alliterative and obscure. Roughly half of the 14 songs are instrumentals, where Ampledeed excels, playing very intelligent progressive jazz influenced rock intermingled with quiet acoustic and piano music. I detect vague references to Soft Machine and Frank Zappa. And for some reason, the song “Wake of the Galaxy,” a quiet song primarily with piano and vocals, reminded me very strongly of Anthony Phillips. This is a remarkable effort for a debut and self-released disc. Ampledeed reminds me of the type of bands released by Cunieform Records. They are a band to watch mature over the next couple of years.

by Jon Davis, 2013-11-15:

Given the general difficulty of writing about music, it's pretty common to resort to metaphors; the first one that comes to mind regarding Ampledeed is "all over the map." I'm not sure if it would be wise (or even appropriate) to say Ampledeed doesn't recognize the validity of maps, so I'll just leave it at "all over" with regards to the geographical comparison. A Is for Ampledeed consists mostly of short tracks (ranging from three under a minute to a few over five minutes) in a wide range of styles. The opening track, "We Breath Time," exhibits the same diversity within its own confines. There is a quiet guitar intro with a vaguely latin feel, several different sections of keyboard-driven progressive rock, some freaky signal manipulation, and more — in a variety of tempos and time signatures. The vocal sections are nicely done, with good work both in the lead and backing parts; in the more laid-back parts, I'm reminded of Camel (like Breathless). When they prog it up, they remind me of the better American bands of the last 20 years, like Echolyn and Underground Railroad, but their restlessness, while not as jarring as Mr. Bungle, sets them apart from those predecessors. When keyboards are so prominent in the arrangements, bands run the risk of sounding like copycats of one of the giants of prog keys, namely Wakeman, Emerson, and Banks, but in these tracks I hear more of Kerry Minnear and Dave Stewart. And believe me, that's a good thing! Few things can turn me off a new release faster than hearing another Wakeman clone cranking out the arpeggios and trills. Ampledeed's core is the trio of Aaron Goldich (keys, vocals), Luis Flores (guitars, vocals, bass, ukulele), and Max Taylor (keys, drums, vocals, bass), but most of the tracks feature guests on a variety of instruments. I suppose some listeners might be put off by the stylistic inconsistency, but I find it refreshing — progressive rock for the ADD generation.

Filed under: New releases , 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Ampledeed

More info

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Omnia Opera - Omnia Opera – From the first few power chords at the beginning of "Space Bastard" it becomes fairly obvious that this British six-piece have Hawkwind as one of their major influences, yet they seem to be capable of...  (1994) » Read more

Anthony R. Flynn - Angel's Breath – What first struck me as sort of a Spanish flavored acoustic guitar based fusion album in the mold of some of Al DiMeola's adventures or Strunz & Farah began to change midway through the album....  (1994) » Read more

Wind - Seasons – Wind were one of those early 70s German underground bands who were influenced by hard-rock bands like Deep Purple on one hand, but also have an Emersonian classically-influenced keyboard presence on...  (1995) » Read more

Echolyn - The End Is Beautiful – I don’t anticipate the releases of many bands as much as Echolyn, and for good reason. For fifteen years they have been evolving continuously, working current musical and lyrics ideas into a...  (2006) » Read more

Onségen Ensemble - HottoïzzoH – They call it a Mini-CD, not because it’s smaller than a normal size CD, but because there is only about 15 minutes of music on it. But it’s among the coolest 15 minutes of 2007 releases I...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues