“It’s different.” Two words you don’t want to read or hear when asking someone for an honest appraisal of your music.
It’s happened to me on occasion – and I’ve always taken it as a polite way of saying, “I won’t be listening to that again anytime soon.” Then there is another ambiguous phrase – one not quite as harsh, though still far from the ringing endorsement you’re hoping to hear, which is ... “It’s interesting.”
I personally don’t mind … “It’s interesting”… because I’ve occasionally received a positive follow-up call from the person making the comment; whereas the person with the “It’s different” reply will usually cross the street when they sees me to avoid conversation.
“It’s interesting” can be more than a polite brush-off; it might mean the music is outside the norm, a bit challenging, an acquired taste, or requires more than a single listen. Such is the case with the self-titled CD from the Illinois group Conveniens, which is a re-mastered release of their 1984 debut album.
Conveniens consist of keyboardist Sterling Smith and drummer/percussionist John Maz. The duo walked the line between progressive rock, acid jazz, and what is now considered World Music.
The music can be quite impressive, but unfortunately on many tunes it comes across as an experimental work in progress - a series in incomplete ideas, musical snippets, ambient sound textures, or jam sessions without structure.
But on a positive note – these jam sessions - as unstructured as they may be, contain some smoking instrumental work from the pair. There is an infectious joy and energy in the music which makes up for any shortcomings in the compositional structure of the songs.
This is something which will require a bit of time to digest in order to appreciate all the nuances in the music – but it is “interesting” enough to keep my ears at attention.
The group went on to release two additional albums and I would be really interested to hear how the group developed over the course of time.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on October 24th, 2006