Style: instrumental, progressive, experimental
Home: New Jersey
Members: Joseph Kenyon ~ all instruments
Michal Brodka ~ visual arts
The collaboration of one man band RM & Polish born visual artist MB has ventured into one of the more grand & interesting musical feasts of the year by an indie artist. They are creating Celestial Bodies, an astrology/planetary themed quasi-story released over twelves months & twelve EPs. On the first of every month the pair are releasing another chapter in their musical fortune telling. It's a fascinating idea based on the theory of creating music & visual art under a short deadline, while eschewing perfect technique or production or even pre-planning. Where the story or music goes nobody knows. Going with each EP is a two toned art print interpreting the same theme as the music aims for. I've always been interested in musicians that release an on-going array of tracks based around a central theme, so I took an immediate interest when coming across RM. I originally was planning on reviewing an earlier RM album, but when I saw this collaboration it struck a chord with me. I'll confess, I'm jealous, as I've desired to do something grand like this musically but haven't found the vision, or the collaborator, to last longer than a few footsteps. RM/MB's releases started in May 2012 with The Sun, followed by Mercury, Venus & The Moon. Each release, so far, includes at least ten minutes of music spread over one to three instrumental tracks. While traditionally this is too short a release to get reviewed on this blog, & I'm not going to cheat by reviewing all four releases under one heading, the fact that the individual release cannot be seen out of context of succeeding releases I feel changes its status a bit to merit mention here. On Mercury the music is varied. At times it feels musically predictable & then sneakes up with a change & something different & out of the blue ... or maybe one should say out of the cosmic blue yonder. Opener "Celestial Bodies" is long droning notes tinkling on a keyboard reminiscent of its name. Nothing out of the ordinary, but this is just the prelude. The main song on the EP "Heavy Bombardment/Mariner 10" opens with a highly distorted instrumental guitar & drum mix with a few sound effects. It starts predictably before suddenly changing course with wierd static-like sound effects before going into much more organized prog-rock guitar & keyboard runs. It sounds like Phillip Glass with a rock band as the changes are slow & unpredictable, with a bit of Iron Maiden passion thrown in but just without Bruce Dickinson moving the emphasis away from the music. This eventually feeds into droning guitars & an unexpected dance beat. This track is, without a doubt, distilling the essence of the Celestial Bodies project & why I chose this second release to review instead of the debut The Sun. This is a project in pieces & within the pieces are more pieces & while The Sun shines as a strong first step Mercury takes things up a notch. While, closing piece "Ode To The Possible Past" is an undistorted almost acoustic piece of a strummed guitar that plucks away randomly before fading into a coherent soft melody with a light synthesizer background. It's an instrumental love ballad if there is such a thing & only further shows off the diversity one can expect both on the EP & the entire project. As for the art ... intricate cosmic fantastical line-drawings that add much to the experimence, a visual coherency RM never had before, & a delightful focusing tool for the music. Kadinsky always said you could actually play his paintings, here RM/MB are actually trying.