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Surrealist, The: Naked Awareness

The Surrealist is a new project based round Singapore born guitarist Roopam Garg, who subsequently moved to Boston to study at Berklee College Of Music, where he teamed up with drummer John Marc Degaard to form this band. With an early single gaining attention, Naked Awareness continues to build momentum, this short four track EP a release that's difficult to categorise and equally hard not be impressed by.

Fusing together progressive, jazz and electronica, Garg performs some mind bogglingly fluid fret excursions, the lack of distortion stretching any possibilities of calling this metal. And yet Degaard didn't seem to get that memo, his busy, hard hitting style bringing a djent flavour that initially proves unexpected. As Garg flits fleetingly over the frets, notes pinging and stinging in all directions, so the drums thunder through double kick barrages and hi-hat snare combinations. Somehow across the title track the most obviously 'heavy' selection it's still the hook laden, melodious guitar that dominates. Allowing subtle, if frantic outbursts to become heavy and metallic due to a surprisingly sympathetic drum attack yet an attack it certainly is.

Opener "Canvas Sky" pulls this approach back ever so slightly, repetitive bursts of notes almost hypnotic against the busy drum work, before the percussion fades to silence to allow the EP's most restrained guitar exhibition to stand alone in fragile beauty. With the dancing "Flowering Of Consciousness" almost like lying on your back and allowing a rain shower of notes to gently pitter patter over you, and the short "Become Whales" the smooth touch its name suggests, there's also enough variance to allay any fears that this is a simple exercise in technique over substance. However even across just four songs this fare, which if you were to try and build comparisons could be mentioned in the same sentence as Animals As Leaders, without really sounding like them, does sometimes stretch the patience through their idiosyncratic approach. The real test will come when The Surrealist try to elongate their ideas out over a full album (presuming they ever do of course), however as an early taster of what they can do, Naked Awareness is really quite intriguing.

Track Listing
1. Canvas Sky
2. Flowering Of Consciousness
3. Become Whales
4. Waves Of Naked Awareness

Added: December 18th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Surrealist on bandcamp
Hits: 1297
Language: english

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