Aug 19, 2012

AARON ENGLISH - "The Marriage Of The Sun And The Moon"

The American keyboardist, singer and song-writer Aaron English is back to this webzine once more (see above a review about his debut album). This time, he is presenting his second CD “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” (2007). As it was sad before, Aaron English is not a typical Progressive Rock performer. However, he is a talented musician devoted to his own art and feelings, who has received and absorbed musical influences of many source-bands of the British-American Pop-Rock, World Music and Ethnical Music scene. In this sense, his music is undeniable accessible, but never trails an easy-listening, or shallow, commercial line. In fact, it is harmonically rich, melodically captivating, and emotionally deep, and always performed with professional quality by both Aaron and his support musicians. His kind of music is to be enjoyed by people that like a more sophisticated, stylish Pop-Rock, as the one music of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Bjork”, “The Police”, “Sting”, “Tears for Fears”, “Coldplay”, “Elbow”, “Dave Matthews Band” and others. On his second album, Aaron English (vocals, piano, organ, synthesizers) plays with a band nucleus composed of Curtis Chandler (electric and acoustic guitars), Matthew Burgess (percussion), bassists Deonne Herron and Miguel Mateus, drummers Derek Munson and Don Gunn (also co-producer, and responsible for recording and mixing); having frequent appearances of Alisa Milner (violin) and Mark Fauver (flute), and featuring some additional musicians (see below). “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” contains 12 tracks. Like on his debut album (titled “All the Waters of This World”), the songs on “The Marriage…” follow various genres and styles: Electro-Acoustic, Folk-American, World Music with exotic influences (Middle Eastern or African) and ballads, always having the distinguishing support of percussive instruments and a substantial layer of acoustic guitars coupled with Aaron’s refined piano playing and the modulations of his unique voice. The music is occasionally adorned with violins or flutes. In comparison to the debut album, “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon” shows some differences. Aaron is singing even better, finding the right tones for his voice, and perfecting his own style. The general mood became less introspective, growing in enthusiasm. The instrumentation is strongly cohesive, but employs fewer exotic instruments, so that the general sonority lost a bit of its exotic originality. This feature was replaced for a tendency to look at his folk-American roots. The outcome is that “The Marriage …” sounds a little more Popish and accessible than “All the Waters…”, even though the overall musicianship remains still far above the current mainstream music. My favorite tracks are the lively “The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon“, a blend of Afro-Latin percussion and acoustic guitars driven by fluent bass and having violins; the Arabian “Like Smoke“, which reminds me of a crossing between “Dead Can Dance” and “Led Zeppelin”; “Brittle“, a mid-weight Hard-Rock with electric guitars; and the original “Crossing the Desert, Crossing the Sea“, that sounds like a Latin-Caribbean waltz. Going back to the 80’s, the New-Wave-styled “Thin Ice“ will please fans of “The Police” and “Coldplay” with its fast beat, electronic background, and brief solos of piano and guitar. Also worthy of mentioning is the creative “Jamaican”-styled cover of “Message in a Bottle“(“Sting”). As for the ballads, they feature A. English singing and playing piano in duo with a single instrument, which may be the violin (on the romantic “Lovers in the Red Sky“); the flute (on the smooth “Me and My Rainshadow“); or just with percussion, as on the deep and beautiful “Weeping Wind“ (reminiscent of “Peter Gabriel”). For those who like American Folk-Rock, driven by lively acoustic guitars, “Anywhere-End-Up Street“ and the cute “God Bless You and your Man“ are my suggestions. The album ends with the experimental “Moon Murmurs“, which combines ethnical flutes and ancient African voices with the synthesized sounds of modern Ambient Music. As on his first work, Aaron English is still producing agreeable music formatted for the most sophisticated Pop-Rock consumer, being specially recommended for fans of “Peter Gabriel”, “Paul Simon”, “Tears for Fears”, “Coldplay”, “Bjork”, “Sting”, “The Dave Matthews Band”, and so on.   Band members and collaborators involved with Aaron English are: Aaron English – Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Organ, Programming, Kalimba, Gourd lute; Curtis Chandler (1, 2, 6, 8-11) – Electric and Acoustic Guitars; Alisa Milner – Violin (1, 4, 8, 9); Deonne Herron – Bass (1, 2, 8, 10); Matthew Burgess – Percussion (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8-11); Don Gunn – Drums (1, 3, 6, 9, 11), One-hand Clapping (1); Jeff Leisawitz – Acoustic Guitar (2); Derek Munson – Drums (2, 8, 10); Aaron Kremer – Electric Guitar (3); Patrick Strole – Electric Guitar, Hurdy-gurdy (3); Darko Vukmanic – Bass (3); Mark Fauver – Flute (6, 7, 12), String Arrangement (8); Eddy Ferguson – Bass (6); Miguel Mateus – Bass (6, 9, 12); Brandon Seltz – Acoustic Guitar (10). If you like hear their music please visit Aaron English's MySpace page...   (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)