Fang Chia — Where Would You That We Gather?
((Not on label) no#, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-06-16
Fang Chia's second release is a definite step up from their debut. Once again, it's a DIY affair, but the quality of the recording is good — we are in the age of affordable Digital Audio Workstations. This time out, the band sounds more like a band and less like an accumulation of recordings. The core quartet of Kyle Durkee, Matt Price, Kevin Shintaku, and Coby Tamayo (multi-instrumentalists all) is augmented by occasional guests, but the group members cover quite a variety of instruments on their own even without outside help. In particular, bassist Kevin Shintaku contributes trombone and guitar/keys man Kyle Durkee plays trumpet. The expanded instrumentation and the way keyboards fit into the arrangements lend a slight Canterbury flavor to the music, welcome in this world of metal-inflected progressive rock. This is a band that doesn't rely on flashy solos to carry the music, but concentrates on imaginative arrangements and varying tone colors. You'll get hints of Afrobeat, reggae, and more in the mix, though all still Fang Chia, and such atypical influences are a welcome addition to a prog record. "Nearly No" is a vocal tune which features harmonies oddly reminiscent of a barbershop quartet backed by some great angular riffs. My only small complaint is that a couple of tracks go on a bit over-long, which is ironic given how short some of the others are. "Start to See" has a really great riff and some good playing with its propulsive rhythm, but at 9:35 overstays its appeal by a couple minutes — there's a stop/restart about six minutes in where they could have left well enough alone and been better off. "Not before the Feast," on the other hand, though 18 minutes long, is actually more successful, with its long slow build-up from distant washes of ambient sound to some nifty interlocking guitar and bass parts. The CD finishes off with "Witch's Ice," an ambitious 20 minute epic featuring strings and mallet instruments. It starts off as a medium tempo vocal tune with faster instrumental interludes, then morphs through a number of sections, eventually fading off into an atmospheric void. This is another great eccentric effort by these kids from Tacoma.
Related artist(s): Fang Chia
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
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more