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) (last update 5/23/2017)

January 25, 2012

Rob Nelson ~ Street Music (EP)

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Style: instrumental, experimental, rock, progressive
Label: Laga Music
Year: 2011
Home: Chicago, Illinois

Members: Rob Nelson ~ guitars/bass/keyboards/percussion

Additional: Mike Milenkovic ~ guitar

This little four song EP opens up with a bubbling bass & a shaker that sounds more like the dark side of Tubeway Army than what one might first expect seeing the title Street Music. The idea of 'street music' probably brings to mind hip hop or gangsta rap or maybe rhythmically searing metal or it might even be some ethereal Jon Anderson-esque worldbeat new age. RN presents something different for his definition of 'street music.' Except for hip-hop there is plenty of searing metal guitars here, though not the the riffing into monotony style, & there is some worldbeat in the use of tuned percussion in the opening title track. But, the guitars & percussion are stewed in a pot of keyboards & sound effects to create a 'street music' that is defined by an ethereal largely instrumental prog-styled rock mix of multiple layers that sneak by like subway noise. 'Street music' is earthy percussion mixed with cold drum beats, synth backgrounds & dancing keyboard sound effects. It's odd sounding meters & constant changes against traditional rock rhythms. It's a bassline that sounds more like a crawling snake in the gutter than marking time or chord changes, while guitars wail nearly chaotically in brief spurts like passing trucks (i.e. "Street Music"). It's also trance like futurific flashes of lasers against distorted guitars that have the alienating feel of some modern architecture where buildings tower in star-studded gaudiness (i.e. "The Hunt"). It's also a tap dance of keyboards against a traditional rock rhythm like a thief in a darkened alley (i.e. "Money Grab"). Closing track "Nebula Sounds (Part 2)" brings all the little bubbles of sound together from the lasers to the guitars but interestingly enough, considering it's the longest song, it lacks the most 'street music' personality. But, it does live to its name as it is more akin to sounds in a nebula all floating around bumping into each other. The only real disappointment in this EP is "Money Grab" which has the smallest feel of instrumentation & a mood that lurks instead of pounds, but is all brought down by uninteresting singing. It would have been better to leave off the singing & keep Street Music entirely instrumental, or completely synthesize the vocals so they completely change shape such as whispers or a heavily robotic voice or something that is less intrustive. In the end, Street Music is nothing less than one man's musical kaleidoscope. Ironically, I'm under the impression RN lives in the suburbs & spends a lot of time in the less than crowded outdoors!