Exposé Online banner

Ampledeed — BYOB
((Not on label) no#, 2016, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2016-02-19:

BYOB Cover art

Three years ago Ampledeed released their debut album, A Is for Ampledeed. 2016 sees the release of their sophomore effort BYOB – so I assume that their next release will be brought to you by the letter “C.” The cover art reminds me of the children’s magazine Highlights, how many items can you name in the picture that begin with “B?” Looking closely I see bubble gum, brain, Beach Boys, bug, bee, bear, booze, burger, beetle, baby, books, Beelzebub, beer, ball, bike, bubbles, baboon, bunny, burning, bun, etc. I challenge you to find something I missed!

Now to the music. For BYOB, Ampledeed have expanded their lineup. In addition to original members Max Taylor (vocals, keyboards), Aaron Goldich (vocals, keyboards), and Luis Flores (vocals, guitar, cuatro), they’ve added Isaac Watts (drums, bass, vocals), Lisa Vitale (vocals), Allie Taylor (vocals), and Aaron Munoz (bass). In contrast to their first release that was mostly instrumentals, BYOB contains mostly songs. The musical compositions continue in the same direction charted by their first release; complex melodies and arrangements of jazz / progressive rock fusion. The addition of vocals, especially the female vocals, is a nice accompaniment to the music. On a number of songs there are interesting organ licks similar to Keith Emerson as well as some soaring guitar solos that impart a 70s ambiance to the modern progressive rock arrangements. Once in a while Ampledeed throws in a Robert Fripp reference for good measure. Ampledeed has matured over the past three years and BYOB is definitely a step forward from A Is for Ampledeed. Let us all hope that we won’t have to wait another three years for their next release.


by Jon Davis, 2016-05-04:

If I had to pick a short phrase to sum up Ampledeed’s second album, it would be “meticulously complex.” It’s been nearly three years since I first heard this band, and it sounds like every minute of the intervening time has been spent assembling this sophomore effort. This is not the kind of music you can just throw together in a few weeks, with each tune built on one riff, a chorus, and maybe one other bit for variety. Each track, even the shorter ones, is composed of intricate interactions between guitars, keyboards, vocals, and rhythm section. Elaborate vocal arrangements are a big part of this Ampledeed collection: not only do the three original members all sing, but some of the newcomers do as well, most notably Lisa Vitale and Allie Taylor, whose parts nicely complement the male vocals and provide an appealing alternative sound. This band definitely fits in the stream of American progressive rock that stems from Echolyn back in the 90s, combining tricky rhythms and arrangements with catchy melodies immaculately sung. But they have developed a sound all their own, and can’t be pinned down in any particular stream of progressive rock. The thing they do best, and most impressively, is to produce music that leaves virtually nothing to chance (every drum fill and keyboard lick planned in detail) but doesn’t sound sterile and lifeless. It’s pretty hard to image the band pulling off this music in a live setting, especially given that all of them play multiple instruments, at least not without substantial reworking and adjustment. But that’s okay — BYOB manages to be exciting and full of the kind of intricacies that lend themselves to repeated listening. It’s an amazing achievement, and deserves a spot in the highest echelon of current American progressive rock.


Filed under: New releases , 2016 releases

Related artist(s): Ampledeed

More info

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Schwartzarbeit - James Gordon's Story – An entirely instrumental concept album about a burned out musician who spends his life indoors in boredom, and eventually works through it all with a fresh approach to his music. Not a very elaborate...  (1994) » Read more

Kilgore Trout - KGT – Kilgore Trout has been kicking around the Northwest for some years now, after relocating here from the Northeast. This migration to Seattle might be typical for a rock band, especially a really loud...  (2000) » Read more

Pippo d'Ambrosio - Arte Senza Volto – Sometimes it’s so much more difficult to try and describe a piece of music than it is to just hear it and accept it without analysis and words. Case in point: a disc that is so diverse and all...  (2006) » Read more

Airborne - Walk on Water – Lead vocalist Baggi Buchmann was a prominent contributor to German keyboardist Ines' Hunting the Fox album a couple years ago. Here he is featured with his regular band, a five piece including two...  (1996) » Read more

Joe Jackson Band - Afterlife – This is not Joe Jackson’s first live album. There was Live 1980/86 and Summer in the City (2000) and (for the really dedicated fans) Joe Jackson Live (aka Two Rainy Nights, 2002). We’ll...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues