Stacey, Martin: Bliss in Undertow
Martin Stacey is a multi-instrumental musician from Oakland; CA. Stacey has the multi-instrumentalist gift of being able to blend multiple different musical genres together to create deep mosaics of rhythm and sonic power that truly are stunning.
Bliss in Undertow sounds like a return to AtomA's Skylight. Only this time the journey is within the mind and what makes us tick versus AtomA's trip of escape to outer worlds.
The journey begins with my favorite album opening…always…the surge of ocean waves. Then deep, cool keyboards roll over the soundscape, before a slicing synth cuts across the deep channels of keyboard waves, like the wake following behind. Absolutely stunning. Yes, "Bliss". Then Stacey's first almost narrated vocals, "Here's to wishing away your fears. A toast to what's become of all the years. Drowning all your memories with bliss. Feel the final surge is drawing near".
Heroic lead electric guitars and bass roar to attention and fight to reach pinnacle heights. The solid drums ring the rhythm strong as "Awakening" launches. "Losing your grip on it all. Open your hands as you fall". Later, "The earth will crash into the sun and all the ties will come undone". The deep keys return to deliver a powerful emotional mood as a lead guitar solo cuts the air with precision. Be careful…The power chords and bass that follow will rock your walls or headphones. "I've waited for a reason for waking up. Nothing looks the way that it did in my dreams". "No one will stand alone. And all our lives will be as one and all the pain and beauty will be gone". Yah, great lyrics delivered with emotional power.
"Equinox" opens with those deep keys continuing their surrounding completeness. "An echo of a whisper of the vaguest recollection of a rumor of the smallest glimmer of hope". That narrows it down pretty good, huh? Soaring guitars, bass, drums and keyboards which will make your ears happy to have found this album. Deep thoughtful lyrics delivered within a sea of electric sound that simply cannot be described. It must be experienced.
"Bleed the Echoes Dry" opens with piano and soft keys floating along with the bass and soft drums; before the lift-off of vocals and lead electric guitar riffing across the soundscape begins. "Impossible it sometimes seems. Chasing long forgotten dreams. Intangible place where you know you belong. Recognize the ebb and flow". Yah.
"Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, Op. 43. Variation nº18 (Rachmaninoff cover)" is a wonderful "intermission" like state within the journey. The journey so far has been pretty intense both musically and lyrically. This piano break is a wonderful interlude that turns into a full blown symphonic powerhouse after its soft introduction. The guitar work is amazing, as is the solid full bass and drums.
"Intangible" re-opens the dynamic journey slowly with guitar chords and soft melody. "I've been alone so very long. For so very long your company seems so strange. For so very long and nothing seems to change". However, this dynamic soundscape changes style and sound with deeper keys and surrounding guitar chords.
"In" is full of deep piano, echoing keys, effects and more deep lyrics.
"Absence of Reason" picks up the pace again with solo guitar followed by a re-launch of bass, acoustic guitars and glimmering keys. The sound must be experienced. It is all engulfing. A feeling of tranquility or floating. A beautiful instrumental to accompany dreaming or deep thinking.
"Everything that you've heard is true". Yes "Ludo" takes things back in a darker direction after the previous buoyant track. The grinding guitars and screaming sounds only add to the dark atmosphere.
"Procrastination" opens with deep, dark, piano accompanied by soft and hard electronic drums. The symphonic strings in the background build power and gracefully fill the soundscape well. Stacey's echo vocals bounce between the deep dark keys that almost thud; signaling a permanence building within.
"Out of Time" is full of more deep lyrics, "The road is hard enough without a map of stars. The bitter truth is that we're running out of time".
The opening track was "Bliss" so now we finish with the "Undertow" to complete the album title. The excellent deep keys, power bass and lead electric guitar open this track with power. The closing of the story lyrically is bold. "Why would you try to fight the tide? You never thought to look to the horizon. So quick to compromise. It's a shame to learn that you've forgotten that you're the undertow" I won't spoil the ending, but the sounds of the ocean could have continued forever for me.
I'm going to have to move over some of the top 10 albums on my best albums of the year list to make room for Bliss in Undertow . Finally...the first surprise I actually found this year by Internet search that makes it to the top 10.
The artist Martin Stacey, is not only a talented musician, he's a nice guy. He was glad I found him. I'm seriously surprised more have not heard this spectacular album. We are both fans of AtomA and until they return to recording, Martin Stacey will fill that musical void well.
Please trust me on this one, as Stacey trusted me with his digital promo. This is an excellent album that everyone should hear at least once. One listen and you'll be hooked.
4. Bleed the Echoes Dry
5. Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, Op. 43. Variation nº18 (Rachmaninoff cover)
8. Absence of Reason
11. Out of Time
Added: August 7th 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: www.facebook.com/StartinMacey
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