Aurganic - Life As A Canvas
- Artist: Aurganic
- Album: Life As A Canvas
- Year of Release: 2012
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: charlesmartel on 2012-04-25
Given that background, Aurganic are to be commended for a brave step. And opening any album with an instrumental is a brave step. However, the jazz influence really gets going with the second track, "False Accusations". But not just jazz. A close listen will reveal the true diversity of influences on offer here, from Camel and Van Der Graff Generator right up to Radiohead and Arcade Fire. And if that selection of influential bands is not enough to convince you, then let us state it for the record. The is music for an intelligent mind. If you are expecting to get up and dance then forget it. If you are not in a thoughtful mind then Life as a Canvas is either going to put you there or drive you out of the room.
Irregular time signatures; passages which seem improvised in their complexity and ease; and the smooth flow of sounds across a page, almost an aural representation of a yacht sailing across the billowing sea. Much use is made of a variety of instruments and styles, from the almost Glitch opening and underpinning "Pleasure Addict" to the ambient sounds which course though much of the music. Male guest vocals are augmented by guest appearances from Jessica Stuart whose rich voice is reminiscent, in the higher end its range, of Sadé.
The intermixture of instrumentals with vocal pieces breaks up what might otherwise be a difficult listen. The three "Ophiuchus" tracks, for example, despite their differences, could not be listened to together end to end. After the first one, the almost industrial sound of "Systematic Vision" (with a vocalist who at times reminds me, oddly, of both Ozzy Osbourne and Phil Collins) provides a stark contrast. But in truth, the sound is often too complex to get to grips with. There is a lot going on, too much at times, and without concentrating, any one track will not get under your skin. And you cannot concentrate on an album like this for too long.
And perhaps therein lies the problem. No one is going to doubt that Aurganic have immense ability. No one can dounbt after listening to Life as a Canvas that the band has the capacity and the intention of producing thoughtful, deep and at times impressive music. The more I listened to this the more I began to appreciate the layers of sound, the patterns which seem to vary with each hearing and the occasional hidden depths. But in this age of instantaneous gratification, where a piece of music without immediate appeal is all too often overlooked, where a teenager with the buds of his mp3 player in his ears hears music as the soundtrack to a life rather than a journey of multiple experiences, I fear that the patience to grow to appreciate this album is lacking. The truth is most people are not going to listen to this more than once, and few, I doubt will get through the whole album. Sure this has its audience, and will go down very well with that audience, but Aurganic are unlikely to break out of a narrow niche unless they change their style drastically, something I fear they (and I) would regard as something of a betrayal.
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