Hailing from the musical landscapes of Hadeland in Norway, Progressive/Alternative collective Polyphonic Exophilia (abbreviated as PPXP) are comprised of several elite musicians with years of collective experience under their belts. On top of being a band, they also run a fully functional recording studio as well as an independent label, operating as a unit that is 100% authentic and DIY – doing just about everything themselves. Known for their very progressive Alt-Indie signature sound, the PPXP collective has put together a dynamic EP series that is comprised of three releases that will take place throughout 2021, and their debut effort from this series is their debut EP ‘Volume 1’.
Solidified as chapter one of the EP series, ‘Volume 1’ is comprised of four anthemic tracks and sequences that really showcase PPXP’s musicianship factors, production value and artistic merit. Each song offers up several flavorful soundscapes that put effective spotlights on each member’s ability as well as the band’s collective style. Opening track “Crocodile Tears” is a perfect example of their progressive formula with several genre textures which includes their Alt-Indie flavor alongside diligently crafted Jazz, Fusion, and Funk elements. This track has an insatiable groovy rhythm section and utilizes dynamic tempos and time signatures that really add crucial elements of their writing style. The lead instruments contain crafty guitar melodies, atmospheric keyboard leads and smooth solid bass lines that tie it all together. The song has a jammy feel with several measures of buildup that eventually lead to a powerful climax, giving the listener a sense of anticipation that is very engaging as well as exciting as the grooves play out. The unique skat-like vocals are cleverly written alongside a melodic duel female vocal, really adding to the flavorful components that are heard throughout the track’s duration. Overall, this track starts the EP out very strongly and also sets the tone for the rest of the record as well.
Second track is “Omoi”, another dynamically rhythmic track with a more uptempo groove. Once again we have a heavy presence of keyboard and guitar leads that really lead the way in terms of melody and progression. This track also has atmospheric and spacey textures, giving the song significantly more ambience in the overall aura. This track is a little more subtle, but is just as effective and well-written. Third track “Post-Traumatic Growth” is another jazzy and atmospheric track that highlights more of the band’s dynamic vocal leads and melodies. Their charismatic approach on this track is cleverly executed and really adds several multi layers to the mix. It’s another brilliant chapter to the EP that highlights PPXP’s signature sound. Closing track “Even Monkeys Fall Out Of Trees” is a groovy number that effectively ties the EP together into one solid anthem. This song combines almost every element from the previous three and still offers up touches of new flavors. The simple yet groovy bass line really carries a lot of weight on this track alongside an ambient piano melody that highlights the song’s key signature. This is also another jammy tune that plays out with solid buildups and climaxes, keeping you engaged with every instrument from start to finish. It’s a brilliant closing track that will easily entice you to start the EP over again for another round of each song.
This debut EP really puts PPXP on the musical map and is a record that is completely ahead of its time. Their craft is very multifaceted and versatile throughout each track’s duration and really highlights each members’ ability in several crucial ways. This EP will definitely have you anticipating what the other two subsequent EPs have in store – but regardless, it has insatiable staying power and will easily become one of your favorites of 2021 so far. ‘Volume 1’ released in June and is currently available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms.
Hailing from Huddersfield in the landscapes of the UK, husband and wife duo Equal Frequencies have been hitting the ground running in the music realm for over 20 years and have collaborated on countless bands and projects. With the success and critical acclaim of their previous two albums, their third effort ‘Karma’ is easily their best yet and really showcases the duo’s musicianship factors and versatile artistic merit.
Known for their controversial lyrics, progressive Indie/Jazz signature sound and atmospheric song structures, Equal Frequencies have put together a record that is multifaceted, multi layered and hypnotically ambient with their tasteful blend of electronically infused Pop, Indie, World Fusion and Hip Hop elements. Comprised of eleven powerful and wholesome tracks, this soundtrack-worthy effort has a plethora of soundscapes that truly stand out among today’s contemporary artists from a similar calibre. Opening title track “Karma” is very rhythmic and really sets the tone for the rest of the album’s duration in a way that is cohesive and effective. You can immediately hear the melodic coherence emanating from each lead instrument while the climactic buildup throughout the measures are cleverly executed and finely tuned. It’s a solid strong first impression that will garner your undivided attention. Follow-up song “Is This How You Want It To Be” captures the same ambience and atmosphere but introduces the melody-driven vocals and crafty lyrics with a more progressive guitar progression. This track really showcases the duo’s production value very effectively and really brings the songwriting factors to the forefront. The vocals are intelligent, intellectual and thought provoking, giving the listener a more visceral listening experience and message that perfectly parallels the melodic measures throughout the song’s duration.
Another notable track on this record is “Dystopia”, another rhythmically progressive song that showcases strong vocal melodies and guitar leads. The more driven tempo really carries the rhythm section on every measure and enhances all the melodic leads in all the right places. The pacing is more carefully written and you can hear the attentiveness to detail is made very apparent. And lastly, closing track “Land Of My Dreams” is very anthemic and brilliantly blends cohesive elements of progressive Hip Hop and Indie Jazz with a Pop sensibility. The piano landscape is beautifully written and really sustains the atmospheric aura that this album passionately displays. The dynamic Hip Hop tempo blends with the melodic layers and this song in particular really showcases Equal Frequencies from several angles. It balances originality and familiarity quite strongly and doesn’t outdo itself in any way. It goes out on a high note and closes out the album with a signature touch that’ll have you doing a deep dive into the Equal Frequencies discography.
‘Karma’ is well ahead of its time and really grabs your attention both musically and lyrically. Both musicians contribute almost intimidatingly strong musicianship factors and the overall production value is something far above the industry standard for an indie release. It’s an intelligent record that’ll make it quite difficult to pick a favorite song from. The album released on June 26th and is currently available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. We can’t recommend this one highly enough.
The passion behind Grafting The Vine’s creative mind comes from a place of past adversity, trauma and a journey of tragedy to triumph. And this album proves that it’s also a place where some of the best art is created. After amassing critical acclaim from the artist’s debut effort, Grafting The Vine comes out swinging from every artistic direction on sophomore album ‘Golden Gate’, an 8-track juggernaut of instrumental anthems comprised of raw energy and emotions encompassing an authentically passionate signature sound.
Utilizing a progressive and heavy stylization that diligently combines crucial elements from several influential Rock eras, Grafting The Vine encapsulates an ambient and atmospheric aura that is effective and visceral – bringing together a dynamically unique sound that stands out from other artists of a similar calibre. Opening track “Otis Burning” serves up a clear and cohesive demonstration of this progressive style and truly introduces a crafty structure that sets the tone for the rest of the album’s duration. The track “Ushauri” is more rhythmic and in-your-face with distinctive low-end guitar progressions with hauntingly ominous leads. This track has a pounding rhythm section with intricately placed drum fills that cruise each measure into a dynamically transitional structure. The multi layered and multifaceted guitar parts are clear, concise and pay precise attention to detail in the overall execution.
“Alpha Romeo” is very symphonic and anthemic, delivering a wholesomely full sound that brings each distinctive measure to the forefront to shine a bright light on the artistic merit of this song. It’s like a deep and dark painting without leaving out any colors, even if there is an absence of brighter ones. Closing track “Dream Collective” ties the album together with a progressive presence that showcases the songwriting structures throughout each track. Overall, this diligently crafted prog-metal record acknowledges the essence of emotional creativity that is made apparent in every song. It emanates with raw passion and balances energy with subtlety in a way that is rarely heard in today’s modern music realm. While ‘Golden Gate’ has an anthemic and futuristic approach, you can still hear several clever elements from many previous Rock eras.
This album is a must-hear for anyone that wants to dive deep into musicianship factors and dynamically executed production value. It just released on May 1st and is available now on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, BandCamp and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave it a listen – it’ll easily become one of your favorites for 2021.