A Helmet of Gnats Jazz Rock/Fusion
Review by Apollo2112
5 stars This is a great album!
I picked this album up at NEARfest this past summer after seeing Helmet of Gnats perform, and I must say that I am thouroughly impressed. What is so great about this album is that the musicianship and songwriting is amazing, BUT it still manages to be accessible and easy to listen to. This is one of my top choices for background music for studying, working out, or even sleeping.
The opener, Tsunami is very rocking, with a good riff and a fun bridge. Tin Whiskers ups the album a notch, featuring some blistering guitar work by Chris Fox. Dozer is my least favorite track (notice I didn't say 'worst'), also the least memorable. Then comes High Street: this 30-min track just blows me away. Some may say that it is too long, but I'd say that it is a perfect length. It included about 15-17 short, 1-3 minute sections with very definite transitions in between. The two sections dealing with the 'Moon Maids' (#6-7) are probably my favorite.
Overall, I'd say this is a very strong fusion album. Where it gets its boost to 5 stars is by being extremely listenable and well-composed.
Gnats are blistering and recording is top-notch
By The Eggman on July 26, 2010
Once again, the Ambient folks have put out a truly excellent, digital masterpiece. Helmet of Gnats have moved closer to prog with their latest release High Street. The more rock elements of High Street explode off the disc. The high sample rate recordings are the first to truly rival analog yet. I listened to this on a number of systems, ranging from large floor standing speakers to smaller bookshelf systems, the car and of course, headphones. I enjoyed the clarity and the dynamics of the mix. Guitars, Drums and bass with a fantasic array of keyboards were all mixed well and came through on their individual solo sections without drowning out the backgrounds.
As for the songs, just brilliant. A lot of creativity and good listening for those who listen to music rather than turn it on as background sound. Helmet of Gnats with their 3rd release and the second on the Ambient Recording label starts off with Tsunami, washing over the listener as it gradually increases in volume as well as complexity, pulls you into the album and peaks your curiosity, leaving you wanting to hear more.
Tin Whiskers pulls you in another direction and adds to the richness of the Gnat's more complex dynamics and tonal qualities. Dozer is great, perfect placement before the epic masterpiece to come with great solos, driving percussion and killer bass riffs. But in the final title track, we hear the Gnats at their fusion/prog best. An epic of awesome proportions, tells us the story of their musical journey. The influences on their style are all around as we take the journey back to High Street, where Matt and Chris began their journey in the world of music.
Once again, the combination of great writing and playing, combined with a brilliant recording, give us a treasure to be listened to again and again, no matter what your system from headphones to car to audiophile system, a true treat for the ears and the mind.
released October 9, 2015
Chtis Fox- guitars
Matthew Bocchino - Keyboards
Wayne Zito - Bass
Mark Conese - percussion
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