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On their third studio album Sir Nebula, TAUK tap into their singular chemistry to elevate and expand their all-instrumental blend of funk, hip-hop, progressive rock, and jazz. Revealing both their refined musicality and unbridled creativity, the Oyster Bay, New York-bred rock-fusion four-piece (guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist/organist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel) push into new sonic terrain and build entire worlds within each richly textured soundscape.
From the hazy atmospherics of “Time’s Up” and soaring riffs of “Program Select” to the urgent rhythms of “Shenanigans” and sprawling melodies of “Where You Are,” Sir Nebula finds TAUK introducing a cosmically inspired element to their music. “The album ended up taking on a more ambient kind of vibe than anything we’ve done before—there’s a spaciness in the songs that lets you get lost in the sound,” says Dolan. And while the album is endlessly hypnotic, TAUK also deliver the dynamic tension-and-release jams that have helped earn them a devoted following while drawing critical acclaim (the Washington Post, for one, praised TAUK for “creating a hard-charging, often melodic fusion that—thanks to a penchant for improv—offers limitless possibilities”).
Throughout Sir Nebula—the follow-up to their 2015 live double album HEADROOM—TAUK allow a more free-form, instinct-guided approach to steer their music into bold new directions. “With this record, we felt more comfortable in the studio and got to a new level where we were able to constantly feed off each other, so there was a lot of spur-of-the-moment improvisation that really helped shape the album,” says Jalbert. Adds Carter: “We made a point of trying to express ourselves freely and take risks even when that felt challenging and scary, instead of holding ourselves back and possibly taking something away from the songs.” At the same time, TAUK sharpened their songwriting to craft more intricately layered arrangements and powerfully intense grooves.
As with their past four releases, TAUK created Sir Nebula in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer/mixer/engineer Robert Carranza (The Mars Volta, Ozomatli, Jack Johnson, Taj Mahal). But in a departure from their previous work, the band made the album in one concentrated period rather than spacing the recording sessions out in between tours. Holing up at the Solar Powered Plastic Plant in Los Angeles, often pulling 12-hour workdays, TAUK ultimately found the revamped recording process hugely beneficial. “Everything just happened so naturally this time around,” says Jalbert. “I can’t think of one moment where it felt like anything was forced. We were all just completely focused and in the same mindset, which made it this incredibly fun and smooth experience.”
TAUK’s creative connection traces back to childhood, when longtime friends Dolan, Jalbert, and Carter formed their first band in seventh grade and held practice in their school basement. After playing together in various projects over the years, the trio brought Teel into the fold in 2012, cementing the final lineup. “We gelled pretty quickly as friends and as musicians, and now there’s a connection onstage that’s unspoken,” notes Teel. “You just feel it from the energy within the band and from the response coming from the crowd—all these people in the same exact headspace.”
Since their formation, TAUK have shared stages with an impressive list of bands (including Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, and Tim Reynolds & TR3), in addition to appearing at festivals like Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, and The Allman Brothers’ Peach Music Festival. That rigorous touring schedule has gone a long way in strengthening their chemistry, according to Carter. “We’re doing 140 shows a year and we pretty much live with each other, so there’s a healthy respect and trust and love happening there,” he says. “We all have a common goal and an understanding that this is something we’re compelled to do, and that’s definitely brought us close together.” It’s also helped TAUK develop a reputation as a masterful live act: “TAUK is unstoppable,” raved Live for Live Music. “If you haven’t see them, dear God, go.”
Now on the road again (with upcoming dates including a two-night stint at the Brooklyn Bowl and spots on the Hangtown Music Festival, North Coast Music Festival, and Catskill Chill Music Festival), TAUK also have plans to widen their output by composing scores for film and television. In the meantime, the band is focused on instilling their live show with the same kinetic energy and boundless passion that powered the making of Sir Nebula. “Growing up together as musicians and collectively going on this journey—that’s what makes this experience really special,” says Jalbert of TAUK’s continued evolution. “It’s like everything we’ve learned over the years has been funneled into this band, and now it’s taking shape in a really exciting way. We all love what we’re doing, and the band just feels like home.”
Consider The Source
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NYC trio Consider the Source defy easy description. If intergalactic beings of pure energy, after initiation into an order of whirling dervishes, built some kind of pan-dimensional booty-shaking engine, powered by psychedelics and abstract math, it’d probably just sound like a CTS tribute band. Drawing from progressive rock, fusion and jazz, with alien sounds soaked in Indian and Middle Eastern styles, CTS blends disparate parts into a striking, utterly original whole. Dubbed “Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Fusion”, the band’s music strikes a rare balance between cerebral and emotional, intellectual and primal. A relentless touring schedule has won the band a fervent following from California to Israel, with fans ranging from jam-band hippies and jazz cats to corpse-painted headbangers and prog geeks.
Formed in 2004, Consider the Source features Gabriel Marin on fretless double-neck guitar, bassist John Ferrara, and drummer/percussionist Jeff Mann. Called “the guiding light for his generation of six-stringers”, Marin channels the mystical fury of McLaughlin and Coltrane into wailing melodies, kaleidoscopic soundscapes and boneshaking riffs. With a background in classical musics both Eurpoean and Indian, and an instinct for avant-jazz and destructive metal, Marin’s hypnotic fusion of styles is ever unpredictable. Ferrara’s propulsive, percussive attack, equally suited to simple grooves and impossible chords, can ground the music or launch it into space. His madcap gumbo of slap bass, Indian rhythms, earthy minimalism and complex tapping constantly pushes into strange new worlds, whilst still dropping thick booty-clap beats. Underneath them lies Mann’s rolling thunder; dense rhythmic architecture built from pure swagger and bounce. Half double-bass prog-metal, half crackle-pop Buddy Rich swing, with African and Balkan swirls, Mann’s muscular, freewheeling polyrhythms are the engine fuel for Consider’s multiversal mischief. Even when not improvising, Consider’s music is always a conversation, a roiling stew of dynamic interplay. Each member of Consider the Source alternately leads and follows, spars and assists; in any single song, alliances are made and broken, bargains struck and divorces finalized.
Touring from coast to coast, as well as Europe and the Middle East, has not only earned the band thousands of fans, but has allowed them to perform with a wide variety of well-known artists, including Victor Wooten, Wayne Krantz, King Crimson Projekt, Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), Wyclef Jean, Andy Statman, Matt Darriau (Paradox Trio), Oteil Burbridge, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Dumpstaphunk, Keller Williams, George Porter, Jr., Jeff Sipe, Panzerballet (Germany), Eatliz (Israel), Freak Kitchen (Sweden), Morglbl (France), and many others. They have performed at numerous festivals and events, including Burning Man, Gathering of the Vibes, the NYC Fretless Guitar Festival, Catskill Chill, Sun Seekers Ball (Canada), Aura Music & Arts Festival (Florida), Jazz Fest (New Orleans), Head For The Hills Festival & SXSW (Texas), Rootwire (Ohio), and the NYC Gypsy Festival. The band’s latest release, “World War Trio (Parts 2 & 3)” (2016) is available at considerthesourcemusic.bandcamp.com.
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Baltimore's own Deaf Scene is quickly becoming recognized as a standout band on a regional and national level, bringing a powerful blend of Post-Rock, Grunge, Progressive Metal, and Jazz-Fusion to their songs and live shows. This ever-evolving instrumental power-trio has consciously embraced walking a musical road-less-traveled since their inception in 2010. Along the way they have cultivated a dedicated following with their sonically-expansive live performances and their solid studio work. Straddling a gray area between the progressive cacophonies of Tool, ethereal soundscapes of Explosions in the Sky, and the sludgy twinge of Primus, Deaf Scene has forged a sound that is uniquely their own. Dave Fullerton’s effects-laden guitar melodies cascade over thick layers of looped sounds, while Eric Courtney’s intricate bass runs and Brett Schatz’s precise whirlwind of drumming give structure and groove to the chaos. What they're able to accomplish on stage, as a three-piece band with no vocals, often surprises listeners who have never seen Deaf Scene in concert. The band works together beautifully through seamless sets of original songs, intersected by ambient samples and drones, generating “a sound that you would never imagine could come from three dudes” (89.7 WTMD).