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

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Govea - Danza Urbana – This Mexican trio is led by keyboard wizard Salvador Govea, who also handles most of the compositions and arrangements. He is joined by bassist Luis Arturo Guerrero and drummer Victor Baldovinos, the...  (2011) » Read more

Virgil Moorefield - Distractions on the Way to the King's Party – Moorefield was a guitarist (one of many), then drummer, with Glenn Branca's ensemble for many years. This is his first album in a decade and his first for Cuneiform. He plays drums here and did all of...  (1994) » Read more

Fred Frith - Nowhere. Sideshow. Thin Air. – As one might guess from the title, this is a three-in-one – in this case three commissioned dance pieces by three different choreographers (one recent and two a bit older) that coexist together...  (2010) » Read more

Arti e Mestieri - First Live in Japan – The modern incarnation of Arti e Mestieri has not seen much documentation on CD, so it is nice to see this release covering a recent concert in Japan. The two main components of the group are still...  (2008) » Read more

Fläsket Brinner - Fläsket Brinner – This Swedish instrumental five-piece features organ, sax, drums, bass and guitar, and delivers a solid jam based groove with a slight jazz-rock influence, all in a live setting. The bottom end is...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues