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Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Band To Burn One To-The Impulse Electric

At this moment, the Chicago metal scene is absolutely on fire with some amazing bands. Here is another band, or shall I say solo project from the multi-talented Edward Nudd. Check out his project The Impulse Electric now! The 6-song album entitled "Canyon of Spiders" was released digitally on 4/28/09 and on CD 5/12/09.

Mastering was handled by Jason Walton (Agalloch) at his Audio Savant
Studios in Portland, OR.


Listening to the almost entirely instrumental Oak Park, IL, outfit The Impulse Eclectic makes an even bigger impression once it’s discovered that the whole thing is basically a solo project. Multi-instrumentalist and occasional vocalist Edward Nudd drums, plays guitar, bass, and keyboards, which means he’s way into home recording or he plotted out the six songs on his new EP, Canyon of Spiders, in his head in advance. Either way, the music is insular but complete sounding. The problem with solo projects more often than not is they’re too self-indulgent (you could argue that’s why they exist in the first place, for self-indulgence). The Impulse Eclectic doesn’t fall into that trap.

That’s not to say the instrumental prog that pervades Canyon of Spiders is down-home simplistic either, just that Nudd keeps things moving along and none of the songs are really long enough to wear down listeners. “Altercation,” the lead cut, is the second longest song at 5:24. Only closer “Bloodlines” has a longer runtime at 10:51. Nudd is concise in his delivery, and though like a lot of instrumentals, it’s easy to get lost in the title track or “The Abyss Once Illuminated” which follows it — the riffs opening, closing, weaving in and out of each other in a mix that could stand to be fuller but sounds professional and clear nonetheless — when the vocals come in on “Phantom Vibrations,” it’s a jarring enough change to snap back any attention lost.

Nudd’s vocal s t y l e is quiet, sounding as though he lacks confidence in his range, but like a mixture of mid-register James LaBrie and melodic Devin Townsend, his voice gives an edge to “Phantom Vibrations,” offering a change of pace while maintaining a consistency of tone, especially in the layers of guitar. The solo contributed by Great Solar Stance’s Matt Schneider that comes in at 1:52 crosses channels and synchs up with the drums, bass an rhythm guitar for an affect like that on last year’s Cynic comeback album, Traced in Air (thankfully minus the vocoder when the vocals come back in).

“Sunspots” has a rushed feeling to it — not in the recording or performance, just in that each new part feels like it’s interrupting the one that came before it and the accenting crash cymbal is insistent and up front in the mix. At around 2:15, the song gives way to a minute or so of slow-build ambiance before coming back in with a chugging riff and double bass drum Porcupine Tree-s t y l e finishing moment of heaviness.

But if Canyon of Spiders is leading anywhere it’s to the epic sweeps of aforementioned closer “Bloodlines.” Nudd’s vocals offer a singly-layered Steven Wilson diction over the course of two spread out verses and finally self-harmonizing for the third and last toward the end of the song. In between is a lot of the heavy guitar noodling typical of modern prog, but well performed and never over the top enough to cut away from the overall class of the recording.

At its end, Canyon of Spiders shows that although naming a solo project The Impulse Eclectic could easily be seen as a show of pomposity, the actual music made — the only thing that matters — manages to stay grounded where scores of others wouldn’t. This kind of technically-sound prog isn’t everyone’s first choice for repeat listening, but Nudd strikes a balance between his muse and the rest of the world that makes the EP accessible to those who would search it out, which is admirable enough in itself, never mind the fact that I can’t get the main riff of “Altercation” out of my head. (JJ Koczan, StonerRock.com)

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