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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Smell of Incense - Of Ullages and Dottles – The passage of time is not always what it seems. Sometimes it crawls interminably and at others it passes in an instant. In the case of The Smell of Incense it is shocking to me that it has been 10...  (2008) » Read more

Barry Schrader - Beyond – One of the many modern American composers whose work is featured by the Innova label, Barry Schrader appears most at home in the electro-acoustic realm. Beyond is his third release on Innova. “First...  (2006) » Read more

Sheila Chandra with the Ganges Orchestra - "This Sentence Is True" (The Previous Sentence Is False) – Throughout the 90s, Sheila Chandra recorded albums of solo voice, basically drones with refined, studied melodies and tones above them. That was interesting enough (since I love her voice), but lacked...  (2001) » Read more

Smokstik - Bugs – Smokstik is the Massachusetts based duo of John Kiehne (Chapman Stick, vocals) and Hillary Koogler (drums, vocals). Although it sounds like a pretty lean arrangement on paper, these two get a very...  (2000) » Read more

Cathedral - The Bridge – Thirty years ago, the US progressive band Cathedral released their first album, Stained Glass Stories. That was it until Tom Doncourt (keyboards) attended a King Crimson concert in 2003 and decided to...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues