Title: None Of The Above
Artist: Pray For Brain
Release Date: 2014 April 07
Genre: World Jazz Funk Surf
License: CC BY-NC
Label: 7D Media
I can’t help it. Really, I can’t. Every time I see this groups name I think there is a bad zombie joke in there somewhere. But, really there is nothing resembling a zombie in this group, or in this recording. If anything, this release makes me want to Pray for Brain. After hearing it, I think you will too…so, please Pray for Brain.
This is the first review of a release from 7D Media, and I am extremely excited to add them to the CerebralRift. This label is an offshoot from several members of King Crimson. Some of the artists on this label include: Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto, and Tony Levin. The mission of 7D Media is, according to their webiste:
At 7d, we believe new media needs new forms and containers in order to manifest and grow. This has led us to look beyond the singular visions of a record label, a film studio or a book publisher.
Initially, they released material under standard copyright in both digital and print forms. Somewhere around November of 2013 they started making the digital versions of their releases available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license.
As a long time prog-rock fan, this falls into one of my “dreams come true” categories: having music from some of the prog rocker’s that I greatly respect available under a Creative Commons license has been a long time dream.
Please Pray For Brain
This release features several musicians that I have not been familiar with though, namely: Mustafa Stefan Dill, Christine Nelson, and Jefferson Voorhess. However, any group that can keep company with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto had to be worth giving a shot.
Any reservation was immediately quelled by the opening strains of ‘Drop The Needle’, an all out grooving funk tune that establishes this group as not only proficient musicians, but performers that love to play together and have the skill to take a tune to a higher level. This was such an infectious track that I was groovin’ dangerously in my car as this track blared from the speakers.
But, where this group sets itself apart is in their ability to move between and fuse many different styles and genres. From the liner notes:
If Zeppelin, Miles, Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes and Nusrat met on a Calcutta rooftop overlooking Marrakesh, you’d be close: Fretless and fretted guitars, oud, upright bass and drums drive this telepathic mashup.
Which is a pretty good description for this group. The key word in the description is ‘telepathic’. This group swings, grooves and improvise in a way that only musicians that have evolved a large vocabulary can. And, they can talk to each other with their instruments, sometimes consciously, and sometimes subconsciously.
None Of The Above is the perfect title for this release. This is a group that refuses to shoe-horn themselves into a single genre or style. Instead they fuse anything that is within their reach. And on top of that they can improvise within any of it, and talk to each other in ways that has to be experienced.
7D Media is a company born out of some of the prog rockers that have been part of King Crimson. They stated a mission to do something different that transcends all forms of media. I don’t know if that is true, but what I do know is that they have started making their digital releases available under a Creative Commons license, and they are bringing out music that is exceptionally difficult to find these days.
With all the digital re-interpretation of past recordings, EDM, IDM, and other electronic music genres out there it almost seems that the artistry of musicians that can improvise, and can talk to each other is becoming a lost art. Fortunately for us, 7D Media has brought out music that preserves a bit of this artistry, and even pushes it into new areas.