Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neon Legion ~ Empire

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: electronica, experimental
Label: self-released
Year: 2011
Home: Germany/America/Canada/Argentina

Members: Philip Kurt Kressin ~ vocals/keyboards
Brett Caswell, Afie Jurvanen, Javier Bustos ~ guitar
Chris Lesso, Brad Kilpatrick, Kieran Adams, Alejandro Lopez ~ drums
Lincoln Hamlyn, Jon Hynes, Jeremy Little, Juan Huici ~ bass
Nicolas Ospina ~ keyboards
Daniel Bensi ~ cello/piano
Adam Crystal ~ violin/keyboards

NL is the rock ensemble encircling German composer/multi-instrumentalist Philip Kurt Kressin. NL is also more than a band but a cry for chilvalrus moral living, painting this shout with rock, classical themes & electronica for their debut release Empire. Kressin comes from an electronica background with a reinvention of his music after a foray into classical music for a film soundtrack. With a partially deaf director Kressin was forced to add sub-bass frequencies so the deaf could feel the music, thus organically discovering new musical directions. A two year stay in Argentina added more musical dimensions leading to the first incarnation of NL. Kressin's project would eventually include both American & Canadian musicians transforming NL from just a band into an organically changing international ensemble. Recalling the art rock of the Flaming Lips, a little early Depeche Mode & other such avant-garde bands Kressin sings in a light almost tongue-in-cheek & slightly synthesized tenor over a background of generally soft electronica & beats that will recall for many fans the ballads of Erasure or other synth-pop bands of the past. But, what is absent is the heavy looping quality that dominates so much of electronica making the result more machine than human. For Kressin electronic loops are just one instrument among many & not the dominate sound as songs move from primarily electronic to live instruments including distorted guitars. Though some of NL would be welcomed on the dancefloor this is not dance music, though it might be welcomed in trance circles for its creative ethereal keyboards that reappear here & there between the guitars & beats. Empire is mostly an upbeat collection of three minute songs of hypnotic quality, never getting too maudlin or extremely moody though moments are there with the album getting darker as it progresses ... though the darker moments are, intentional or not, the definite highlights. But, everything takes a dive down with the seven minute coda-like concluding track "La Revolucion" that brings out all the moodiness that came before with its nearly instrumental mix of guitars/keyboards. It sounds like lonely soldiers going off to war. It doesn't attack but creeps while it opens up a whole new world just as the it lets the listener move on.



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