Title: A Thousand Ways EP
Artist Country: UK
Label: 23 Seconds
Catalog Number: sec.077
License: CC BY
[Note: There’s a bit of an oddity with this release… It appears there is no longer a download link on the 23seconds website. However, the link on CCTrax does download the release directly from 23seconds.]
If you thought I was going to let things just be after reviewing The Big Bang EP by Azoora, well you were wrong. I wouldn’t feel right just reviewing a five year old release, knowing that there was a newer release for the group. And especially one that has been released within the last year. (And besides, I’ve been a bit quiet this week, which I hadn’t intended, so I feel the need to make up for it.)
But, above and beyond that, this release demands to be reviewed for several reasons. The first is that the sound of this release is completely different from the previous release. This EP has a much stronger singer / songwriter component than The Big Bang and yet, it maintains the same lyrical elements of the previous work. The thoughts and perspectives are all like an impressionistic painting, a stream of consciousness from a mind un-hinged in time.
Another component that has been retained from The Big Bang is the presentation of alternate versions of the tracks. However, this time, not only are the settings different for each song, but the titles are different. For example, the alternate version of Shadow of You is titled Astray. But, beyond just the change in title, the lyrics have a different emphasis in each version. It’s an interesting extension to the concept from the previous work as now each of the tracks is not only set differently, but is framed differently.
But, that’s about where the similarities between A Thousand Ways and The Big Bang end. Whereas the previous release was very dark and densely arranged and textured, this release is more acoustic and sparsely instrumented. Also gone is the sense of strident urgency, instead turning to a more introspective sound.
And that’s what makes this a fascinating release. It’s the mirror image to The Big Bang. The proverbial two sides to the same coin. The concept of alternate interpretations is still prevalent, while the textures and feel of the release is completely different. It has the feeling of a band that is re-inventing itself, turning to a new direction, but still keeping elements at its core that make them unique.
And, again, that’s the power of artistic expression that trumps the shallow fashionable sense of most of today’s music: Azoora is a group that knows how to write music that will endure. They are confident of this endurance to a point where they can release multiple versions of a track and not expect them to collide or be contradictory, but instead complimentary to each other.
Another excellent release. I recommend listening to A Thousand Ways together with The Big Bang.