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Smith, Nathan Parker: Not Dark Yet

Nathan Parker Smith is a composer and bandleader of his Large Ensemble which came together in 2009. His debut CD Not Dark Yet was released in 2014. His band is a massive seventeen musicians playing woodwinds, trumpets, trombone and rhythm. The rhythm section consists of Landon Knoblock (Rhodes), Kenji Shinagawa (guitar), Russ Flynn (bass) and Jared Schonig (drums).

On first glance you may think this is a big band jazz recording but that is clearly not the case. What Smith has created is a unique combination of jazz and metal that is both imaginative and creative and just a little unsettling. Although the melodies do not stick around for long, the adventurous playing might just be enough for you to get you a healthy dose of seconds. Although there are some good tracks here it is hard to pick out individual highlights. Much of the music is quite intense with thick blasts of woodwinds, trumpets and trombones creating layers of sound complimenting the metallic guitar riffs of Kenji Shinagawa. What you get is a mixture of written composition blended with improvisational sections where it almost seems like the musicians are playing different songs, going off on their own tangents.

For sheer adventurousness I recommend the heavier "Creature Rebellion" and "Solace" where the experimental factor is high and the playing is outstanding, especially the drum work of Schonig. In fact, he shines throughout the disc blending jazz and metal into a seamless concoction of power and chops.

For something scarier try "Monsters" where heavy drums and shards of metallic guitar create a disquieting soundscape of eerie effects and general chaos.

For something completely different look no further than Not Dark Yet. This is music that has successfully blurred the lines of both jazz and metal, refusing to be put into any one box. It might not be the 'easiest' of listens but is certainly entertaining and never boring.

Track Listing:
1. Mega (1:05)
2. Interstellar Radiation Field (2:18)
3. Dark Matter (3:46)
4. Rhetoric Machine (3:29)
5. Fog Over East (5:05)
6. Creature Rebellion (4:21)
7. Solace (3:49)
8. Spin (4:26)
9. Build And Destroy (2:45)
10. Monsters (2:21)
11. Carrington Super Flare (3:24)

Added: February 11th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1672
Language: english

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