Following on from Introduction, and the precursor to the final instalment due later this year, The Story Of Blue: The Journey continues the voyage of self discovery Blue finds himself on. To bring this tale into being, talented vocalist, drummer and keyboard player (all three aspects vital here) Ian Narcisi is again accompanied by bassist Erik Swanson, guitarist Dave Bowers and illustrator of the stunning artwork that accompanies these releases, Samuel Kirkman. Joining the voyage this time is tabla player Dhananjay Kunte, adding more Eastern flavours to an album that in lyrical ethos runs deep with them.
As you'll see from my review of Introduction, I found that album to be a conundrum of excellent ideas that don't always come to fruition. Truth be told, it is also a feature here, however with a little more of an eye on the prize – both in terms of how the story is revealed and the music helping with the revealing – The Journey brings you much closer to your destination. Narcisi again proves an able and diverse vocalist, but where the main difference shines through this time is by how much easier it is to fully grasp the songs and draw them into your mind. "Dawn", where Kunte makes a strong rhythmical impression, surges into view through a mesmerising pattern that has you transfixed, while "Beyond" brings a grandiose feel through majestic, foreboding piano work that actually reminds a little of Muse. As the songs segues into "Olympus Mons", the atmosphere grows and grows – a sudden aggressive interlude heightening the impact – becoming both the album's centre piece and high point, while Bowers' guitar solo is quite wonderful.Elsewhere the 60s pop meets 70s prog via a little psychedelic haze often slips into the same vein as this album's predecessor; dreamy themes and interesting little melodies allowed to play out without fully forming into the unforgettable pieces some of this album proves Narcisi and his ensemble are capable of. Although, that said, this time The Journey is an engaging album that contains one or two rather wonderful moments and hints at the potential undoubtedly possessed by this project.With the third and concluding album due later this year, hopefully The Story Of Blue blossoms into the grand, memorable piece that you always feel it can, but never quite does. If you actually begin this voyage with The Journey and then venture back to The Introduction (while confusing the story), musically things do make a little more sense. Track Listing
1. Fall Away
5. Olympus Mons
6. Song Of The Saints
7. Come Of Age (New Sun)
Ian Narcisi doesn't do things by halves; he does them by thirds! Hence The Story Of Blue: Introduction is the first of three (part two, The Journey, is also reviewed on these pages, with the third due later this year) conceptually linked albums revolving around the character Blue, who through endless trials, tribulations and mystic mentors, finds who he really is. The inspiration coming from India's Vedic truths, which Narcisi became fascinated by during a visit to that country.
Undoubtedly it's an interesting starting point and yet for someone who knows little of the basis behind the concept, I'm not sure how much I was actually able to grasp from the lyrics, other than the hard journey Blue has to undertake. That aside, Narcisi certainly knows how to take you on a musical journey, bright melody always at the heart of some, at times, hard hitting themes. Pop-prog with a psychedelic sheen comes close to describing much of what you'll find here, electric piano a pleasantly unusual starting point for many of the tracks. Something which lends an 80s bent to a 60s formula that still sounds reasonably current. Vocally Narcisi is easily capable of darting from heartfelt story teller to angry barking – although always delivered in a clean, crisp style. Special mention too must be given to his excellent keyboard and drum work, the latter especially an unexpected highlight, while the guitar display from Dave Bowers and bass from Erik Swanson is simply sublime.Add in stunning artwork from Samuel Kirkman and the table is set for something quite magnificent to be served up - and yet Introduction never quite delivers on that promise. Don't get me wrong, well crafted sounds performed by excellent musicians ensures that nothing here falls below the required standard and yet for long periods Introduction sounds like exactly that, a lengthy preamble that never quite reaches its destination, or provides a big pay off. "Inward" is uplifting and expansive, "Left Behind" impressively bullish and fragile at the same time while "Detached" provides a threatening edge much of the lighter material lacks. However once everything is over, there's a nagging feeling that none of it has quite lived up to its potential, or provided the memorable slaps you presumed were coming your way.In the end it's quite hard to put a score on The Story Of Blue: Introduction. I've enjoyed it and in places there's no denying just how skilled and crafted an album it is. However once it ends, there's not much that pulls you back into this intricate world and demands you stick around. And yet I can't quite get away from the fact that there's much here to be impressed by... Track Listing
1. Blue Born
5. Left Behind
Ian Narcisi always creates progressive rock that’s fairly mainstream and accessible. This new disc (the second in a trilogy) is no exception. A lot of this has quite a bit of psychedelia built into it. All of it is strong. I really enjoy this set. I’d also bet that most people who like their prog in the general AOR vicinity would like it, too.
Track by Track Review
In some ways, this makes me think of Prince. This is a cool psychedelic rocker with a real groove.
Proggy psychedelia creates the musical concept here. There are some great melodies. The percussion is busy, but also very tasty.
Another rather trippy number, this makes me think of a proggier version of Jellyfish in a lot of ways. This is good stuff for sure. I dig the cool instrumental section on this. The keyboards are great.
No big changes here, this is another mid-tempo prog meets psychedelic rock styled tune. For some reason, though, this one seems to stand out a bit more than some of the rest here. It does shift into some weirdness for a bit, and then move out to piano. A harder rocking jam emerges from there that is one of the hardest edged jams of the disc. As it continues to evolve there is a short bit that makes me think of Queen before the piano takes it again, unaccompanied for a time. More hard rocking stuff emerges. Piano takes control at the end, though.
Speaking of piano, that drives the first three or so minutes of this cut. From there it powers out into a killer rocking number. This thing is dynamic and diverse, having classically inspired moments in the piano driven ones, things that are almost jazz and also hard rocking music. There are other segments that are decidedly melodic progressive rock. This instrumental is really quite a ride. I love the scorching hot guitar soloing later in the piece. Honestly, this is one of my favorites of the album.
Song of the Saints
This rocking number is more purely prog in a lot of ways. It has an almost space rock vibe in some ways. Some of the jamming later in this number makes me think of Pink Floyd just a bit.
Come of Age (New Sun)
A scorching hot tune, the hard rocking sounds on this are incredible. This is definitely progressive rock, but it has a crunchy edge. It does drop down to mellower stuff at times. I’d have to chalk this up as the best song of the disc.
I pretty much always like anything from Ian Narcisi. That said, I think this might be his best release. Combining progressive rock, psychedelia and space rock, this is extremely strong. You might hear things as diverse as Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Klaatu, fusion and even some funk in the mix here. This is a strong set start to finish.
Track by Track Review
This instrumental is melodic and powerful. It has elements of classic progressive rock, fusion and space music. It’s a great way to start the set in style.
Coming out of the previous number, this turns to a rather bouncy, electronic based prog sound for the first vocals. There’s a rather funky bass line that runs in after that. It continues to evolve for the next set of vocals. There’s a great prog jam at the end that turns noisy late.
Noisy and a bit strange, this instrumental is also space rock. It’s rather cool, as well.
This is an unusual, but very effective piece. It has a lot of psychedelia built into it. In many ways it seems to combine Beatles like psychedelic music with space and more. This is trippy and quite cool.
The same basic blend of sounds as in the last song is heard here. This is more mainstream and accessible, though. It’s no less tasty. The harder rocking movement later makes me think of Klaatu a bit. There is some great melodic guitar soloing later, too. This is a fun number in so many ways. A short keyboard section ends this.
This instrumental is classy. It’s guitar dominated, but quite proggy. It has a lot of fusion in the mix, too. There is a bit of Indian singing at the end.
The singing from the previous one starts this. Then keyboard sounds take over. Trippy, slide guitar, making me think of early Pink Floyd, joins after a while. This really does have that kind of Floydian psychelic element going on as it continues. As this instrumental (other than those Indian vocals at the start) continues, it starts to intensify. It gets more layers of sound later, too. Percussion takes control late. It’s joined by chanting and then a spoken section takes it to the end.
Reviewing this guy was quite interesting. He has 3 demos so on the first one [Off Purpose (full band version)], is like a cross between Moody Blues and Pink Floyd. He uses a lot of effects, quite impressive. Also original songs. Theres a harmonica,reminiscent of Bob Dylan, but Ian’s voice is his own. His music is psychedelic/Scifi, very unusual variations. His music is almost hypnotic and this is the first one I’ve listened to, looking forward to the other two.
Again he goes from a reg tempo song to the spacey, floydish variation, quite well, he is able to blend different styles brilliantly. He is environmentally conscious, this 2nd song I’m listening to is almost stoner rock. This last demo is my favorite the lyrics on this one are quite thought provoking and again with that spacey into the cosmos sound effects.
Ian Narcisi whom we featured last month, released a 3 track EP back in 2010 and while he works on his first full release we felt it was time to shout about this little nugget of goodness.
“Absent Today” is a wonderful kaleidoscope of keyboards, guitar harmonics and smooth vocal montages. Far more than your average performer, Ian seems to be able to pick up any instrument and rock it with some great synth brass floating around the speakers to make things stand out.
“Five Below Nothing” opens with a grande piano solo which then gives way to some of the strangest time signatures I’ve witnessed in a rock song in ages. It takes a few listens to really get the extra funky verses that free flow beats all over the shot. It’s one of Ian’s best features – being able to showcase the unusual in a usual light.
The closing track “Behind the Dawn” is the most straight forward track, a dark and damp rock anthem with lots of ethnic twists on the guitar. Ian’s vocals burst into a more angry void from the more hypnotic tones of the earlier tracks and here things are more visceral.
It’s a wonderful introduction to some stunning musicianship and Ian’s handle of instrumentation is of the highest calibre. If you want to be impressed by a new rock artist – Ian’s your man.
We Say: Being ever so up to date and modern we do not do prog rock here on Beehive Candy ever! OK so we have featured the odd classic concert from the likes of Pink Floyd, Marillion and others, but seriously we do not do Prog! So please call this new and modern (because put simply it is) and really good as well, call it what you will this is a fine track from a very talented man.
The track of the week is Absent Today from the EP Phone Call To Infinity by Ian Narcisi.
Ian’s latest EP, Phone Call To Infinity, is his most defining work to date. The edge noted on Feel No Evil is still here, but Ian has polished the rough edges to a fine musical sheen. The song “Behind The Dawn” shows an expansive sound that’s part Queen, part Muse and part Pink Floyd. Similar musical colors dance through “Five Below Nothing” and “Absent Today”. At some point in the recording of this EP, Ian has transcended mere creation into art; at the same time elevating his messages about becoming the best possible you to pure poetry.
Ian takes everything that was awesome about progressive rock, and kicks it to the next level. I'm a hardcore fanatic Pink Floyd fan, and I'm here to tell you, Ian gets it. Proud to have brought him to my listeners, and I can't wait for his next big thing.
Ian Narcisi is an American musician who began taking drum lessons in the early eighties and went on to attend the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. In 1998 he honed his vocal talents under the tutelage of opera singer Janice Pantazelos giving several accapella performances in the Chicago area. He eventually discovered a passion for rock music and released his debut EP Off Purpose in 2005. His full length debut Weight of the Words was released in 2008 and in 2010 his latest offering Phone Call To Infinity has seen the light of day and is the subject of this review.
Phone Call To Infinity is a three song EP and is one I very much enjoyed. Narcisi is a fine musician with a knack for writing catchy melodies and artful compositions. Joining Narcisi (vocals, drums, keyboards) are Dave Bowers (guitar) and Erik Swanson (bass).
The album begins with the progressive/pop sounding "Absent Today", a very melodic tune with a relaxing groove, excellent guitar and keys that flesh out the sound nicely. In "Five Below Nothing" the beginning piano intro reminded me of Roger Hodgson's Eye of the Storm. Later on the razor- sharp guitar leads and excellent background harmonies give this one a progressive feel with shades of Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. "Behind the Dawn" starts off with pretty guitar and keys before a backdrop of lush sounding synths leads to exotic Eastern guitar stylings and more expansive synths.
Narcisi's ability to combine pop and art rock is a real winner and should appeal to listeners from both realms. My only complaint is this three song EP ended too soon. Really looking forward to his next full length release.
1. Absent Today
2. Five Below Nothing
3. Behind the Dawn
Added: November 5th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Here is a three song EP from progressive rock artist Ian Narcisi. It shows three completely different sides to his music. The thing is, there is not a weak song in the bunch. Narcisi has the kind of songwriting and musical skills that truly seasoned artists generally show off. He should have a great career in progressive rock ahead of him.
Track by Track Review
There’s a real pop oriented element to this, but yet the killer layers of sound that weave in and out bring it into progressive rock territory. This is complex, but deceptively so. It’s also very catchy and very tasty.
Five Below Nothing
Intricate piano weaves a complex and pretty trail on the opening section of this piece. It’s accompanied by other keyboards. Eventually it works out to an almost funky jam. This one is less progressive rock oriented than the opener, but still has enough modern prog to keep it well situated in the genre. It’s a cool tune that rocks out pretty well. There are layers of keyboards over sections of the piece and the vocal arrangement is quite interesting.
Behind The Dawn
Opening with a gentle, acoustic guitar driven motif, this builds out in a great melodic prog ballad approach. Comparisons to Marillion, Genesis and Yes are all valid. It works out later into a jam that is harder rocking with bits of Pink Floyd and perhaps Dream Theater built into it. This is, without question, the strongest piece on this EP. It is dramatic, mysterious and very powerful. A cool bouncing, keyboard dominated bit leads to the quick outro.
What an intriguing EP this is. It focuses essentially on modern progressive rock sounds, but runs the gamut between space rock, hard-edged metallic prog and other sounds throughout. The instrumentation, arrangements and vocals all work exceptionally well, making this an awesome disc.
Track by Track Review
Dust of You
Catchy and compelling, there are intriguing layers of sound bringing the prog into play. Noisy guitar plays in melodic ways. It works out to slow moving, melodic modern progressive rock. It turns out to nearly metallic motifs later in a killer jam. It becomes more melodic again down the road, but there is some seriously killer guitar soloing before that change. The return of the mellower is simply for the outro.
There’s a hard edge to this, but the overall musical concept is melodic. It’s like a dark and somewhat heavy modern melodic progressive rock cut. It works through a number of sections, but all the changes seem organic and natural.
Now, this cut focuses on the literal meaning of progressive rock. It’s quite progressive and original. There’s a stripped down, almost soulful groove at times. Other sections are louder and more lush with a real textural approach. The vocal arrangement is unique and cool. This is a dynamic cut with a lot of different musical concepts at play. Yet, it never fails to entertain. A section later is closer to something from modern King Crimson. Later we hear a cool keyboard solo.
A cool vocal arrangement opens this and the track turns exploratory from there. It’s got a really intriguing atmospheric sound. There’s almost a reggae beat later. This is very much a space rock tune, both in musical concepts and lyrical elements. After a time it turns out into sounds that seem to be reaching upwards. It gets considerably complex and intricate later and layers of vocals work across in a killer arrangement. There’s a real mysterious, cosmic texture to the music, too.
Sparkle and Shine
There’s a Latin air to this and a real soaring progressive rock sound. It calls to mind Yes at times, but the Latin guitar and cool keyboards bring a world music turned space rock element to the table. This is a great piece of music that is another that seems to be reaching upward. Then later it becomes more hard rocking. Perhaps Spock’s Beard is an appropriate reference to that section.
The first full length release from Ian Narcisi, this shows him to be a musical force not to be ignored. He deftly combines modern and old school progressive rock and other sounds into a tapestry that is both complex and accessible. The music leans at times on various musical styles or references while remaining wholly original.
Track by Track Review
Rather symphonic keyboard sounds lead this off. From there we move towards some dramatic mellow sounds as it gradually builds. As the rhythm section joins it feels a bit like something from Jeff Wayne’s version of “War of the Worlds.” The vocals bring a more accessible approach. A Klaatu-like jam is added mid-track. After more vocals it shifts to rather Yes-like territory for a time, and then works to some seriously heavy prog, ala Dream Theater. It works out from there towards more melodic progressive rock. The bass line has some interesting moments and there’s a killer guitar solo. Ambient weirdness comes in to end the cut.
Unaccompanied vocals lead this out and then we get a piano dominated arrangement with some sound bites for a short time. From there it moves to a rather pop-like jam that’s got plenty of progressive rock in for balance.
The first extensive section here is based on a piano and vocal motif, but it shifts out later to acoustic guitar laden progressive rock that has a lot of folk music built into it. When keyboards come over the top later, there’s a Beatles-like psychedelia brought to the table. Harmonica later reinforces the folk influences and the cut returns to that folk-like movement to take it out.
Along for the Ride
There’s a bouncy, yet atmospheric element to this and as it’s built on it has some hints of Pink Floyd-like music. Still other sounds bring it into a more upbeat and accessible progressive rock territory. This instrumental is tasty.
Throw It Away
There’s sort of an Italian gondola music element here mixed with a progressive rock texture that makes me think of Genesis’ And Then There Were Three album. Some funk is brought in with the bass and the guitar turns toward flamenco music. As it continues those world music sounds are merged with fusion and some intriguing progressive rock elements into a texture that’s quite unique and intriguing. It gets very involved and is very beautiful.
Bass leads out here, then some hard rocking guitar joins. It works to more melodic territory from there. Still, as it builds there is definitely a hard-edge. It drops way down from there, though as more café meets prog sounds take it in atmospheric directions. Then it works towards RIO before this instrument drops out to end.
Around to Face You
Keyboard dominated progressive rock brings this in and builds gradually upward before powering out into the song proper. There’s definite a pop or classic rock angle to this. There’s a rather metallic movement later in the cut, too. Later we get a fusion-like jam that’s tasty.
Dramatic music leads this off and it takes several turns and shifts along this path. At times it feels a bit like Genesis, but then we get sections that are closer to modern melodic progressive rock bands. Although there are some non-lyrical vocals here, this is essentially an instrumental.
Dramatic, lush and powerful mellow music brings this in with some non-lyrical vocals laced over the top. It grows from there with some changes and alterations and then moves to something closer to melodic fusion before working out to the balladic verse. Intricate and pretty it calls to mind Genesis, Pink Floyd and Marillion all at once. There are some instances where it turns harder, but overall it remains melodic. Then there’s a section after the four and a half minute mark that is decidedly Fish-era Marillion inspired. That segment takes the piece to a satisfying conclusion.
Multiple layers of keyboards start things here. It rises to energized melodic progressive rock and the musical journey that ensues works through in those kinds of styles. It gets very powerful as it works along this road and this is one of the highlights of the set.
While this is still melodic progressive rock, it really has a lot of Beatles-like elements. That’s particularly true of the vocal hooks. There are also some killer instrumental passages. A world music combined with classical piano movement takes it to a false ending. Then it works out from there in a motif that has a lot of movie soundtrack textures. It still has the Arabic world music built into it. Further down the musical road there’s a jazz-like section that’s quite tasty and an intriguing change of pace.
Mellow progressive rock with some serious electronic effects on the vocals bring this into the world. It feels a little like some modern hip hop with those bits of weird vocals. Then piano takes into more exploratory and rather jazz-like territory as the cut continues to build outward. As it continues more of those vocals appear, and, in fact, other than those, this is an instrumental.
Violet and Blue
Atmospheric and dramatic musical elements open this. Then vocals come in after the short introduction. The music that makes up the song proper is more like a modern progressive rock in a stripped down arrangement. There’s some guitar soloing in the background that calls to mind Mark Knopfler.
'Feel No Evil' is the current EP of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter IAN NARCISI. Supported by a bassist and guitarist he plays drums, keyboards and also cares for the vocals. Hey - these are really nice songs! The first two remind me of Porcupine Tree's Signify/Coma Divine period. Ian's voice appears close to Steven Wilson's I would say - and the mood is similar - psychedelic tinged precisely. The ballad Dust Of You is a really tricky one - mellow, atmospheric with echoing keyboard and charming polyphonic vocals embedded in floating interludes.
What protects you from getting lulled? A slicing guitar is contrasting and overall the song evolves to a heavier mood over the course of time. And at the very end a mysterious triphop styled drum impression is fired off - unusual, not troublesome - a rather special and unique gimmick. The shorter Little Bit follows - more dramatically arranged and again with a special interest in multi-layered vocal performance. Obviously well done - psychedelic guitars and piano are fluttering around each other.
Holding stylistical diversity Just Because is another one which really comes into flower after some rehearsals. Erik Swanson plays double bass, Dave Bowers a playful guitar alternating between a psych, jazzy or heavy riffing output. And then Stargazer shows hallucinogenic vocals and a reaggae/dub dominated groove where the ethno flavour is nicely intensified by a Maui xaphoon in between. The mellow Sparkle and Shine makes out the final song - average, not that tricky as the predecessors, nevertheless provided with nice piano similar keyboard contributions and expressive vocals.
Compared to his full album 'Weight Of The Words' from 2008 IAN NARCISI's current EP appeals better to me. I'm not quite sure yet what makes out the difference. More subtlety? Some more psychedelic moments here and there? Maybe because the songs are going adrift from a singer/songwriter attitude? He surely has cultivated his compositional skills. This foreshadows some surprises for the future - 3.5 stars.
Listening to Ian Narcisi’s EP Feel No Evil is almost like listening to 80s Pink Floyd. Its progressive rock as it should be, with eclectic lyrics and haunting melodies, something that’s just off the norm of regular rock n’ roll.
Feel No Evil is Ian’s 4th release and in five songs it will hook you and pull you in. The title “Feel No Evil” seems a bit out of place when you first listen. The title implies something dark and brooding and not so nice, but the music is anything but that.
The EP opens with Dust Of You which has a very big Floyd vibe going on. The wailing guitars play a suitable tribute to David Gilmore in such a way that you expect to be transported to an arena with an elaborate laser light show! All things aside, this song reminds us that we all share something in common and that’s dust. It’s a particularly pretty image when you think of it as stardust and that’s one that’s easy to conjure up when you hear Ian sing “Crescent moon above the shore. Bound within a living law. In the dust of you.”
Of the five songs, Little Bit is one of the most intriguing. From the strangely deep and echoing chorus to the lyrics, there’s something compelling as well as different about this track. Yet the message of the song is one that we’ve heard many times over, which is the need for people to stop focusing on themselves and look at the bigger picture. The lyrics “All this wasted time focusing on ourselves. Take a little bit more.” speak volumes if you open your mind to them.
Just Because reminds us of the need to get back to the basics if we expect to continue on. The guitar really builds to a fantastic climax as the song nears the end and then calms down, perhaps the music shows that everything including our planet which is being wasted at astronomical speeds can be brought under control if we all work together for the common good.
With Stargazer you get a lesson in astronomy if you listen to the lyrics reference Jupiter and its many moons as well as a fascinating astrological event that occurred in 1994 when the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet struck the planet. Its far from the usual subject matter for a song, but I dare you not to Google all the names of the moons and the story on the comet. This may be the first time I’ve learned something from a song.
The EP ends with Sparkle and Shine another song that reminds us of our own capabilities to do rise above the things that challenge us most.
Ian has created something special and beautiful with Feel No Evil. I can safely assure you that after several listens I don’t feel at all evil. In fact I feel rather peaceful for having spent time listening to his music. Oh and I know a little more about Jupiter.
Any progressive rock lover will be absolutely delighted by Ian Narcisi’s extremely well-crafted album Weight Of The Words. The album starts out with an otherworldly intro that brings to mind space odysseys and time travel. The intro slides smoothly into the opening track, “Twilight’s Last,” which begins with a melodic journey of keys and guitars and expert musicianship. We know from the get-go that Ian Narcisi is not your average artist and that this is most certainly not your every day music.
As “Twilight’s Last” continues, we are greeted by Ian’s vocals which further emphasize the fact that we are in for one hell of a ride with this album. Throughout the song the space odyssey theme persists and Ian treats us to a wide range of vocal talent that, at times, seems to emulate aliens speaking.
After the dramatic opening track, we might feel a sense of anticipation at what is next, along with a mild sense of anxiety when we consider the fact that the rest of that album can’t possibly measure up to “Twilight’s Last.” Ian proves us wrong, of course, with the beginning of “Veil” which starts off with only vocals and no instruments. Then crystal clear guitar work shines through the sound of falling rain. We might be reminded of Pink Floyd while listening to this song, specifically early Pink Floyd. “Veil” is a melodic piece of art that captures us completely.
“Burning” is also rather Floydian and Ian’s voice brings to mind the esteemed Mr. David Gilmour. This song is soft and flowing and the piano really gives it what it needs. The lyrics are rather thought provoking as well. Ian’s sings, “Rivers of cigarette butts fill the streets, plastic bags launched helpless through the trees…” It makes me think of a desolate inner city landscape in the dead of fall under steel grey skies. Between the lyrics and the music, this song can’t get much better, but it does. Cue harmonica. Nice touch.
The fourth track is a truly ingenious instrumental piece titled “Along For The Ride.” Indeed. Aptly titled. We are being taken along for a ride on this one; A ride that consists of extraordinary soundscapes that rival some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard. Each instrument rings out clearly without being obvious. The music sounds very nearly perfect in my headphones, and I find that if I close my eyes I can hear it better. I can almost SEE it. This song is entirely too short. It should continue indefinitely.
“Throw It Away” transports us from the dreamy soundscape of “Along For The Ride” and takes us directly into Italy or perhaps Spain. The guitar work on this song is phenomenal and “Throw It Away” will be sure to get people dancing some sort of Latin dance that is complicated and beautiful. The background vocals on this song are exceedingly well done and they compliment Ian’s voice beautifully. Salsa, anyone?
The next track, “Unified,” begins with a funky bass line that is soon accompanied by guitars and drums and instruments of every kind in this spacey creation. Another amazingly well-crafted instrumental, “Unified” has an almost holy feel to it, with an underlying current of sensuality. An odd combination, perhaps, but one that works exceedingly well. This song is a show of brilliance.
“Around To Face You” has a melody to it that vaguely resembles I Love The Night by Blue Oyster Cult. It’s not overly obvious, but since that is one of my favorite songs I was able to pick up on it. “Around To Face You” is a difficult song to describe because there is so much going on here. This song cannot be properly placed in a category, or a box, as it were. Not being able to categorize a song means that it is truly diverse with regards to musical influence and that it is a well rounded piece of music. There’s so much happening in this song, and it all comes together surprisingly well, that we could conceivably listen to it multiple times and probably hear new things each time.
Track eight, “Quevlar’s Journey,” is another instrumental that is beautifully engineered. This song, like much of the album (especially the other instrumentals), has a space-like essence to it that reverberates with unworldly images and sounds. Each transition is as smooth and seamless as glass as Ian takes us through the various stages of “Quevlar’s Journey.” Yet another nearly prefect show of musicianship and talent.
The next song, “Cold Rain,” is a melancholy piece of music with guitar work that could rival David Gilmour. This is a sad song that gives me chills and the lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful. Ian shows off his vocal talent exceedingly well in this song, but there is something going on in the background. There are words being said, as if through a phone with a bad connection. Try as I might, I can’t quite hear what is being said in the background. I can pick out a word here and there, but I can’t get it all. “Cold Rain” is probably my favorite song so far, and I wish I could hear what that odd and alien voice is saying.
“Forever Today” starts off dramatically. The short intro reminds of an old black and white movie and I can’t even say exactly why. It sounds very ominous, but once the song gets going, that ominous feeling fades. It doesn’t leave completely, it just fades a little. Ian’s voice holds a touch of urgency and the piano seems to add to this feeling. The lyrics too give us a feeling that something either terrifically great or terribly tragic is about to happen.
Song eleven, “Trouble Free,” has some excellent piano work to take us into the soft, swaying beat and the calming vocals. This is a great song to listen to enclosed in someone’s arms, feeling fine and free. “Trouble Free” is one of those warm-n-fuzzy songs that just seem to make the day a little better and perhaps brighter than it was before. I especially enjoy the break at around the three minute mark when we think the song is over, but not yet. Ian takes us into some stellar instrumental work and then comes back strong with the closing of “Trouble Free.”
The song “Raid 5” is another instrumental that showcases the undeniable talent of Ian Narcisi and the other musicians. This song has a bit of a twist to it though, and we are taken into the future for a brief moment with the almost creepy sounding voices of what appear to be robots. It definitely has a sci-fi feel to it, while still managing to maintain the melodic mastery that the rest of the album radiates.
The closing song, “Violet And Blue,” sums up the album Weight Of The Words perfectly. It’s slightly melancholy, a bit space aged, and thoroughly and completely well done. Ian Narcisi is an artist of the highest regard and his album clearly shows this. I have rarely, if ever, heard an album in which the sound quality is as good as this. Weight Of The Words puts to shame some big name acts who can afford to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on top of the line recording equipment. And who knows? Maybe Ian did too, but I don’t think so. I think Ian simply knows what sounds good and has a talent that is nothing short of a gift. Weight Of The Words is an extremely well thought out album that sounds indescribably incredible.