Posts Tagged ‘King Crimson’

And the traveler bandIn a world of mediocrity and trite songwriting three men take it upon themselves to peel back the paradigms of rock and spit on the corpses… Okay. Enough of the dramatics.

It’s time to get serious. And, And The Traveler is seriously good.

Max Johl – Guitar / Lead Vocals
Donald Perdomo – Drums / vocals
Josh Goldberg – Chapman / vocals
These lovely locals hold their main base in Yonkers, NY. See? I keep telling people there is good music in Westchester County…

Upon first listen you’re likely to assume they’re the usual 4-5 piece band doing some awesome rock tunes. Well this is where it gets interesting. They are a in fact a three piece; but instead of a boring ol’ guitar or bass dynamic they mix it up with Josh Goldberg playing the artfully obscure chapman stick. Made famous by the great Tony Levin of King Crimson. The chapman generally appears to be one of those instruments that is usually isolated as the “solo-performance” instrument rather than having use in a full band. Even in Crimson tunes, where Levin can be heard on the stick, it seems that the rest of the band is accompanying him rather than in support of. And The Traveler’s use of the stick in their music is leaps ahead of many modern rock bands and adds an entirely unique quality to their arrangements.

Josh was just recently featured on the Chapman Stick website as a featured artist. He also records and posts videos on his own personal page entitled Stick Science in which he gives playing tips, solo performances, playthroughs, and answers frequently asked questions.

They are inherently a “rock” band with many songs you could easily hear on a radio station. That doesn’t make them bland to me. It only fascinates as I delve into and peel back the layers. Which for a three piece, is quite expansive. The first track on their album The Road, The Reason is Steps. It’s an upbeat tune that starts big and enters some ethereal expanses. It’s very much similar to Dear Hunter, minus some hokey dramatics.

You can stream the entire album on Spotify,

..as well as on their bandcamp

The guys were nice enough to send me the full double disc album complete with an artwork book illustrated to stories that their songs unfold when I bought it off of their bandcamp page.

Pulling influence not just from many genres but from many decades. You can easily hear classical influence round up with modern rock and jazz.

They’ve got the technicality of King Crimson and Dream theater, the dynamics of the Dear Hunter and the Mars Volta, and the diversity and unique song-writing like the Rx Bandits and Primus.

I could go on for hours about the diversity of this band. The diversity of those they emulate is drastic enough. But they aren’t some simply copy/paste group of artists. Their music is totally unique and stands on their own among any progressive band out right now.

Their album is mixed so well for the band that they are. It’s sparse enough to hear all of the intricacies but big enough to fool you into thinking this is a full sized rock band. Chapman sticks have the issue of “blending” but the guys at Schroendinger’s Box Studios performed wonders and made it work.

Many cases with two disc albums, I find myself picking a favorite side. With this… I cannot. Part II is far from a B side, and is diverse enough to hold it’s own as a distinct album. My favorite track being the first one on this side, called Spiderclass. Such a raw sounding that builds up, sounding similar to Primus, a tightrope love affair between rock, jazz, and avant garde.

The band documented much of the recording process in little video shorts hosted on youtube featured on their website’s media page.

Be sure to pick this bad boy up and give it a strong listen. That’s an order.

cover

and the traveler 1

and the traveler 2

It’s puddin’ time children.

Primus is the avant-garde comedy prog band from California. Born of the psychotic ramblings of Les Claypool, the eccentric bassist who wrote the theme songs to popular late-night animated TV shows, South Park  and Robot Chicken. Although their sound is heavily influenced by Claypool’s unique playing style and cartoony voice; the band’s sound is held together by Larry LaLonde, former guitarist of the 80’s death metal band, Possessed.  Their drummer Jay Lane has an interesting style that fuses funk, hard-rock, and punk which ties the trio into a neat little pile of oddities.

Claypool, having grown up with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett had tried out for the band after the passing of bass virtuoso, Cliff Burton. They passed him up, James Hetfield explaining that Claypool was “too good” and should do his own thing instead. Claypool went on to form Primus and has played an understated role in music since the 90’s.

He did record with Metallica eventually, performing the banjo solo on Metallica’s cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Tuesday’s GoneHe’s also performed with Tom Waits, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains), Gov’t Mule, and Adrian Belew (Zappa and King Crimson).

This prolific musician who has performed with some of the biggest names in the industry loves to flaunt his “artist” side, which in his case, is stranger than fiction.

A perfect song for this beautiful day we’re having. Relaxing in the sun beams, smelling the pre-autumn air, enveloped by Robert Fripp’s swooning voice. Bliss people. Bliss.

“Matte Kudasi” means “please wait” in Japanese which sounds to me like a plea to the end of this summer. Please wait.

King Crimson released Discipline in 1981. This was the first album to feature one of my favorite bassists, the wildly prolific Tony Levin. The album also contains the tune, “Elephant Talk”, which was the first to feature Levin jamming on his famed Chapman stick.

King Crimson has gone through many line-up changes but has always featured Mr. Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford. Adrian Belew, a member of Frank Zappa’s band joined with Levin on Discipline and became a permanent member of the rotation.  The band has always been a beautiful combination of genres and easily one of the most quintessential addition to any prog fans’ collection. I know I have.

Enjoy the atmosphere of this song and be sure to check out all of King Crimson’s collection. Despite being infamously absent from Spotify’s library, their music is available on Amazon and many songs and live performances are ready to hear on Youtube.