artistic license; music & lit reviews by the fool…


Review of Future Band album “Moralitas”
3.29.10
written by Caribbean Fool for Future.net

Future’s “The Outer of Inside Vol. 1 :: Mortalitas” is comparable to a mini-series, where each episode can be viewed both on its own as well as part of the larger series. Contextually, this allows for a wide range of music styles and interpretations. Just when you think you’ve finally cracked the code of the album, everything changes, and the best part of it is the bands adeptness at performing entirely different musical genres. Mortalitas transforms from jam-band to funk-rock to rap/spoken word and never skips a beat. Tactical guitar work, a truckload of hooks and downright inspired drums are backed up with driving bass that works as the unifying factor within the music. There’s something for everyone on this album, but the pieces are broken up and redistributed in a way that lets the individual talents to the band shine without overwhelming the sound as a whole.

The word “intersection” reappears throughout the lyrics as both signpost and constant reminder to the listener. Connections between ideas, between choices, between decisions and their ultimate outcome are the whole cloth from which the music has been stitched together. Each individual song folds into the following track with ease, even when the band changes style to emphasize a given experience. Tempo and rhythm are altered radically from song to song, but this gives each track a fresh taste when listened to outside the context of the album as a whole.

The album is lyrically reminiscent of other concept albums. Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” and Springsteen’s “Ghost of Tom Joad” both place the listener over the shoulder of artist in a similar way, if through disparate musical styles. Mortalitas works its way through most of the “big moments” in life, and explicitly deals with the repercussions of decisions made under any number of circumstances. As you move through the album, each song puts the listener a little deeper into the psyche of the main character.

Additionally, there is a fair bit of philosophy sprinkled throughout the album. Cartesian duality appears under the guise of the differentiation between mind and heart; how both ideas and emotions can influence us both as individuals as well as members of society-at-large. Questions of fate and free will are also considered. By and large, many of the questions are raised for consideration instead of judgment. This only acts to improve the consistency of the thematic whole. It is enough to ask the questions and illustrate the possibilities; this can only incite further discussion and deeper thought about the many variables involved with Mortalitas theme.

It should be noted that the depth of the philosophy behind the album does not preclude it from being listened to for plain old enjoyment of the crafted sound. No matter the gravity of the lyrics, the album is still enjoyable simply as music rather than the art it so readily is. The listener will bring whatever degree of connectivity to the music that he/she chooses to, but the album itself still manages to be readily accessible in every sense of the word. Fans of past work will recognize Future from past albums while finding there is a lot more to explore on “The Outer of Inside Vol. 1 :: Mortalitas.”

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Review of Future Band album “Spiritas”
10.01.10
written by Caribbean Fool for Future.net

Spiritas “The Outer Edge of Inside” Vol. 2 reveals a far more stylized side of The Band Called Future showing off a frenetic mastery of sound in ways that would have been impossible for the band just a few short years ago. The band’s emphasis on practice and performance is presented with their usual signature, idealized lyrics but made more pertinent by asking deeper, more penetrating/soul-searching questions about the relationship of the individual to a wider society, if not to existence itself. There is a depth to this album as a whole that exceeds the unity-of-purpose imbued first volume. I was left with the image of a devoted respondent awaiting answers to honestly posed questions.

The sonic quality of the album is fabulous from beginning to end. The sound itself is melded in the same way the band manages to meld styles of music without disturbing the core arrangements that bind everything together. Simply listening to the aural signature of the entire album without any attempt toward a connection to the meaning behind the songs gives off the pleasurable rise and fall of an acid trip without any of the queasiness. Rather than a series of initial encounters with individual songs, the album exists as a concept within-itself that teases out complicated issues by tracing different lines of reasoning all seemingly leading to the same aforementioned unanswered questions. A certain ambiguity serves the greater purpose of the album by presenting to the listener a wide array of inspired rhythms, melodies, and beats.

The album is constructed with overlays of repetitious chorus arrangements with the same pulsing intensity as the first installment Mortalitas “The Outer Edge of inside” Vol. 1 but feels far more coherent. The listener is greeted in almost prayer-like fashion with rolling guitars holding back just long enough to breathe and foment the opening words. The opening track on the album, “Jigsaw” sets an aggressive, bold tone that builds slowly but with a special certainty to an overwhelming instrumental conclusion. Track 3, “I’ve Had Warmer Welcomes” (which features DC hip-hop group Rosetta Stoned) rapidly questions themes of self-confidence, the duality of right and wrong and man’s place in larger society placed over the kind of question and answer guitar work that makes even frightening ideas seem a little easier to confront.

“High Noon” is a classic call-back to the spaghetti western theology that lays behind much of the worldwide civil and mental aggression present, but changes the scenery from faux-Western to the band’s home outside of Washington, DC. Complete the picture with a wicked horn section (a tip of the hat to the sounds of a tradition of violent conflict in the dogma of the wild West) repeating the melody during the last two minutes of the song and this is easily my favorite track. It serves as the midpoint of the album and effectively plays with preconceived notions any listener might still be clinging to this far into the album.

Other strong songs are “Sentencing” and “Lux.” “Sentencing” might be described as the bands judgment of itself, or can be turned inside out to represent perceived reactions to building both message and music in such a way as to offend strict “genre classification” enthusiasts but being so damn good at it that it only strengthens their sound. “Lux” is a seven minute opus demonstrating the philosophy of a band learning as they go, but being pretty damn good as they get even better. The phrase “Into the light” is repeated over and over again, as if to lift the veil just far enough to see that somewhere down the road lay everything they are searching for. Absolutely enjoyable album, highly technical/talented sounds & lyrics.

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