Indie Music, Reviews

Listen to the Talented Friends of Vince DiCola: Thanatopsis’ Axiology (Review)

October 18, 2009 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook Listen to the Talented Friends of Vince DiCola: Thanatopsis’ Axiology (Review)on Twitter

Dig the music of Vince DiCola? You better! How about Buckethead and Viggo Mortenson? Yeah, the actor, he writes music too. Turns out all these guys have one thing in common, and that’s that they release music through Travis Dickerson Recording Studios (TDRS Music).

Turns out if you take a little look around the site, there are many other groups on the “label,” if you want to call it that. One such group is Thanatopsis, which not only has an incredibly cool name, but also performs some amazingly awesome music. Comprised of Travis Dickerson on keys, Buckethead on guitar, and Ramy Antoun on drums, this group is definitely worth your attention.

Find out why in our review of their Axiology album after the jump.

I can’t think of just one word to describe the music of Thanatopsis. I guess it borders on fusion, but with less jazz and a more progressive rock feel that retains this sort of upbeat mood. I was drawn in immediately upon listening to the opening track, “Nostrum,” which features some moody yet measured guitar work by Buckethead and a steady backing of Dickerson on piano and Antoun’s deliberate drum work. The layers of sound work their magic on you without a catchy melody or any sort of explosive energy, but rather with a nice laid back vibe.

“Pretzel Logic” is a little more playful, and not only in title. Dickerson’s piano progression has a bluesy feel to it, repeating the same few measures over and over while Buckethead interweaves some wailing electric guitar notes. The piece builds before a sudden breakdown with some drum ‘n’ bass-esque percussion from Antoun which is pretty cool. “Cult of One” takes on a sort of poppy approach with Buckethead’s guitar work, which is actually kind of funny given Buckethead’s image, but it’s an enjoyable track that’s light in nature. Similarly, “New Year” sports these ascending doubled-up guitar and piano lines that sound rather joyous despite the heavy bassline. Buckethead’s layered guitar work is the star here, as it transports you somewhere else for a moment as the melody fades in and out of the foreground.

“Vicious Circle” gets more dirty with distortion effects and improvised sections from Buckethead and some awesome rock organ from Dickerson. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album, and not just because it has organ! It’s the longest track here, and it’s just so gritty to cool that it never feels too long. “Gnash” also features distorted guitars and some wailing synthesizers. The crunching sounds of Buckethead’s rapid guitar lines being channeled through all sorts of effects create a really interesting sound, and I love that this one features some really “hard” rock sounds but puts them together in a way that’s totally unimposing and easy to listen to at any time. Same goes for “Non Sequitor,” which similar works in traditionally heavy rock sounds into something more accessible. This is another one of my favorites with its many layers of sound that make it so easy to get lost, and allow you to experience something new with each listen.

Things get funky with “Pyre,” opening with slap bass and some crazy flanged and filtered synth lines. This one’s very much so a freeform track that kind of moves with its own time. I do enjoy the dreamy guitar breakdowns and wonky synth work over them, and overall, it’s a great experimental track.

“Axiology” and “Top of the World Ma” bring the album full circle with Dickerson’s rapid piano progressions and Buckethead’s wailing guitar notes that are in no hurry whatsoever. Both tracks feature some nice solos here, but even they remain calm and grounded among the other elements. It’s so odd to hear the piano and synthesizers going off into chaos while the guitar is so measured and controlled. It’s definitely a sound that I’m not used to hearing, and sounds like somewhat of a signature of Thanatopsis. As the last track, “Top of the World Ma” seems to become less and less controlled, with even Antoun falling out of standard time, and in a blink of an eye, Axiology is over.

I probably would have never found TDRS Music if it wasn’t for my love of Vince DiCola’s music, but I’m glad I did, as I love Thanatopsis’ sound. I’m not at all surprised that Dickerson and his group are amazingly talented performers and musicians, as Vince DiCola has nothing but great things to say about these guys. I finally caught on, and I recommend you do the same! The TDRS website hosts some free mp3 samples of the Axiology album as well as some extensive (and entertaining) liner notes. The album is available for $15.00.

Do you think Thanatopsis at least has a cool name going for them? Are you of the same mind as me that any musical partner of Vince DiCola is somebody you ought to be listening to?

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