1. Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
“Concentric began as a therapeutic vacation from musical boundaries, and a year later is still expanding on that theme. Jim Becker and Jerry Hauppa were growing weary of the clichés that plague the extreme metal genre when they discovered that both of them had acoustic side projects that were keeping their sanity. Though their styles were very different, what they had in common was an ear for the more progressive side of music and its ability to challenge the listener. By combining their efforts the two released a demo in 2004 and later one epic 16 minute track in the Mosaic EP, which depicted a vast array of emotions and themes using only layered acoustic guitars” (http://www.myspace.com/concentric, 2009).
2. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose for this album?
“After finding a drummer in Brad O'Malley, Concentric fully fleshed out their sound and furthered the progressive themes hinted at in previous recordings. The three piece is midway through the writing of their first full length and is currently recording a demo to represent how they currently sound with the new percussive element added. The group is determined to perform instrumental acoustic music in a way that hasn't been heard before, and judging by the response received at shows played both at home and abroad, Concentric is definitely achieving that goal” (http://www.myspace.com/concentric, 2009).
3. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
1. Sedatephobia – The fear of silence. A slow progression of synths, guitars and drums plods through this opening. Then a much louder statement along with cello and bass. A very big sound for a three piece band. Slow grinding instrumental melody heavily driven by bass and cello.
2. Balance – Slow guitar opens this one. Cello, guitar, drums and different rhythms begin to pick up as the song builds. Allot of complex picking and competing guitar chords mixed with drum. Then a nice galloping acoustic guitar mix that really livens the sound up.
3. Counterbalance – Much more acoustic guitar. The band interweaves allot of acoustic guitar, blending the chords between two players.
4. Ghosts – More guitar, cello and drums.
5. Familiarity – More interesting acoustic guitar and drum meanderings. But yes, familiarity is the word. Each song is beginning to sound the same.
6. Sleep Therapy – Too many songs beginning to sound the same. It is starting to sound like aimless meandering.
7. The Colossus – Slow heavy plodding of all instruments, as if watching a moving colossus.
8. Verdiend – A faster paced guitar chording with drums. The rhythm slows down later in the piece, but the intricate cording continues.
9. Immeasurable – The title and longest track on the album. This time much more variation in the rhythm and a much heavier electric sound to open the song. Grinding electric guitar and drums to support. One of the better songs on the album and a welcome relief from the rest of the chorded meanderings. Around the six minute mark, the song quiets down into the quiet plucking of guitar and other instruments before picking up pace again and moving back into a heavier edge to close.
10. Inspiration – Hoping this one will live up to its name and provide some new inspiration, it opens well with the quiet cords again. But soon it’s back to the chorded meandering with little melody. It sounds as if it is a guitar practice set of songs used to practice moving up and down the guitar chords as a progression. It was cool for one maybe two songs.
11. Rock Island, 1931 – Heavy base and cello with drums supporting. Finally a different sound. The guitar sounds are different as well.
12. Monument – More guitar chords meandering.
13. Spague – Finally a different sound on the last song. Starts out with the sound of a drill press, then the guitar chord meandering again, with intermittent drill press sounds. Then back to the guitar chord meandering. The album finishes with signs they may go in a different direction in the future. It closes with many instruments meandering.
4. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
Not really. It is all acoustic guitar chords with some other instruments added for variation. The music sounds very complicated to play and I am sure allot of work went into producing it. It is nice background music. They did succeed in avoiding the clichés of heavy metal music.
5. Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
Not really for me. They need lyrics and a singer to give the complex music they have created a real voice. Its good music but lacks a real direction. They have avoided clichés and categorization, but at the same time any kind of affinity to this listener. Too much of the same guitar chord meandering.
Rating: 3/10 – Mainly for the complexity of the chords and musicianship. However, this music could only serve as background music for me.
Reviewed by Prof on January 5th, 2010
Concentric combines elements of California Guitar Trio & Might Could with “insert your favorite extreme metal band” with some interesting results. Beauty, aggression, brutal and sublime are the best quick ways of explaining the music. Almost every song, while acoustic based have an almost electric feel. The sole “electric” sound is featured on the epic title track. I would also say the band touches upon elements of RIO & post-rock. Before continuing, the listener must prepare themselves for a rather unique and eclectic mix of music. If you’re looking for standard acoustic guitar music, then please look elsewhere.
Concentric is a trio of musicians that sound like a quartet or quintet based on the wall of sound approach they have on their album, Immeasurable. The band consists of James Becker (guitar, cello, bass), Jerry Hauppa (guitar, hammer dulcimer, accordion) and Brad O’Malley (drums)
I will admit that the music is very difficult to listen to and took me several listens to fully appreciate the musical content on Immeasurable. On the title track we get a full electric sound with some crunchy guitar moments and faster-than-light-speed drumming. The band shows they have a versatility that revivals none (in my opinion).
I will recommend this album solely to true music lovers that can adapt their listening habits to various genres. Everyone else should stick to their “safe” musical tastes. The reward for listening to Immeasurable is that you get an album that has no boundaries and doesn’t really have a fixed era of time. You can hear the samples on their MySpace page to experience for yourself. If you like the samples, then you have a highly recommended album to acquire.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on February 25th, 2010