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
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more