The Music

#ThrowbackThursday album review: You Are Literally a Metaphor, Consider the Source

Consider the Source's latest full-length makes up for their four-year gap in studio releases with a meaty, seventy-plus minute offering of highly inventive multisectional instrumental epics.

What would have been album reviews featured in the 2020 magazine, the #ThrowbackThursday series hopes to provide listeners a friendly reminder of some keynote releases that really stood out to NEPAudio Staff.

written by Jeffrey Glenn

Consider the Source’s latest full-length makes up for their four-year gap in studio releases with a meaty, seventy-plus minute offering of highly inventive multisectional instrumental epics. Their lengthy song structures, level of musicianship, and psychedelic bent have earned Consider the Source an awestruck following in the jam scene, but the trio avoids much of the meandering aimlessness inherent to some of their peers: despite their length, these pieces are tightly composed and dense with ideas.

a1950698367_16The mechanical prowess that so impresses in a live setting is on full display here as the trio navigates knotty metrical structures and abrupt changes of texture and tempo. This technical adroitness and the grand, majestic scale of these compositions will appeal to enthusiasts of progressive music, and the album provides enough heaviness and instrumental pyrotechnics to satisfy fans of the more technical side of metal.

Another important component of Consider the Source’s makeup is their incorporation of non-Western musical gestures, heard most clearly in the serpentine guitar melodies of Gabriel Marin. Microtonal inflections and liquid slides and slurs lend Marin’s guitar the character of a violin in Carnatic music of south India, gesturing at and surrounding pitches in a general way according to the mood of the moment, in contrast to the rigidly tempered notes of Western music. Marin mixes these modes of expression expertly, effectively manipulating the tension between the familiar and alien. To this end, he also subjects his guitar tone to an array of effects processors, among them envelope followers, pitch shifters, and guitar synthesizers, to create a vast tonal palette that often suggests other instruments, including violin, organ, and trombone.

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Left to Right: Ferrara, Mann, Marin

Of course, the presence of a John Ferrara-caliber bassist would make assigning the bass a subordinate role unthinkable, and there is a corresponding parity between the guitar and bass limited only by the nature of the instruments. The nimble dexterity of drummer Jeff Mann drives another element drawn from non-Western contexts: the use of asymmetrical meters. The irregular meter of “Unfulfilled and Alienated” suggests a whirling Balkan dance frenzy, and “Misinterpretive Dance” slinks along in a 17-beat meter whose accents shift throughout. You Are Literally a Metaphor is rounded out by a number of inspired pinpoint production touches; from the drum machine cameos on “Sketches from a Blind Man” to the electronic atmospherics of “It Is Known,” the production is thoughtful and sensitive to the needs of the music.

With You Are Literally a Metaphor, Consider the Source present as potent distillation of their sonic personality as has yet been achieved. Thoughtfulness in arrangement, composition, and production ensures that the interplay and creativity which fuels their revelatory live performances are translated to the studio medium. This LP provides an engaging listen for any fan of the styles previously mentioned as well as anyone inspired by high levels of musicianship, and is essential listening for anyone interested in the fusion of non-Western music with jazz and rock.

You can listen to You Are Literally a Metaphor through their Bandcamp, on Spotify, as well as find plenty of live performance videos and real-time streams— including a live Radiohead set this Saturday—on their YouTube channel.

 

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