Steam Theory — Asunder
((Not on label) no#, 2015, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-03-18Steam Theory’s new release is full of big-sounding music, with multiple guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, and orchestra presenting ambitious instrumental music — 13 tracks spanning two CDs. In the studio, Steam Theory is really just Jason Denkevitz; he enlists other musicians for live performances, where they rearrange this music for the instruments available. All the orchestra parts are simulated on Asunder. I’m a firm believer in judging music by listening to it, not reading the credits, and in this case, I’d say the only downside to this method of production is a somewhat over-precise sound, complex and impressive but with the guitar parts being the only real human touch. That being said, Asunder sounds superb, with its classical flavor more Stravinsky than Beethoven, with modern harmonic touches and a few non-European elements added. There’s also a touch of fusion, but just because this is energetic instrumental music, not because of any real jazz elements. As much as I enjoy this album, I can’t help thinking some interaction between musicians in real time would help bring it to life — it’s kind of like looking at a beautifully rendered CGI rendition of the Himalayas: it’s lovely, but a real picture would have been even better. Facing reality, trying to record a project this ambitious would have required resources no independent musician could muster short of being independently wealthy, so we’ll take the simulation and applaud Denkevitz’s accomplishments.
Related artist(s): Steam Theory
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
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
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
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