Chords Of Truth – Reflections Of Reality – Album Review
I’m a big believer in writing “unforced” reviews – one’s that come in the moment and not from forcing the work, but rather from wanting it. As many of you have come to know through our last album review with the band We Steal Flyers – I write these while in the middle of a heavily repeated listening session. And today I needed something different.
Pressing play was different enough for what I’ve been recently dealing with musically through the SBS artists – I’ve been on a steady diet of folk and hard rock music – and largely electronic influenced music has yet to make a strong dent in our line up by comparison to how many bands represent those other two genres, as well as the rest.
But I won’t make it a completely clean getaway from those other genres….Jason Garriotte, the mastermind behind Chords Of Truth is mostly known for being a folk artist! So what gives?
Folktronica. Yep. That’s right. I’m not making this up. And yes you should listen to it! Now!
To kick it off – both the song “Tune Your Mind” and the title of this first track made me pay attention instantly. Chords of Truth – that’s bold! You’re telling us all to tune our minds? What if we feel they’re already in tune!
I feel like my mind was pre-tuned and ready for your music and it instantly resonated with me for a whole slew of reasons. I mean – the first introduction, first note and beat are electronically steeped in a playful beat and it only gets stronger from there. I applaud Jason’s idea that working with these other producers in various new formats of music would lead to something great. It has – and Chords of Truth have made an album with this double-disc release that builds and gets stronger as it plays.
Musically – there is so much going on creatively on this album. And this is where this review might get a little hurtful to some readers who might listen and then dismiss this as “not music.” You know – those purists who feel music is only made with drums, bass and guitar…..welcome to the year 2013 – where at this point we are making amazing music with computers and incredibly powerful editing skills. Accept what you cannot change – because I’ve listened to all forms of noise from the electro genre and I can say that some of the most emotional moments I’ve felt have come from a simple cut and edit job for someone who knows what the heck to do with the music they’re remixing.
For a large part of this album – I found that the different versions of the tracks still made it so that they had a life of their own, with each really putting out a different spin from the version before. Arranging it as they have really gave it that genuine feel of the proverbial underground mix-tape and the samples of Chords of Truth within these tracks really tie it all together with this new “folktronica” they’’ve put out.
The strengths are most certainly composition but beyond that the lyrics themselves. You can tell Jason is a man with something to SAY – a quality you know I’m a big big fan of. He’s writing from the heart – he’s writing for change. Each song contains a truth – good band name! But I mean that in the sense that it absolutely sounds like these are from genuine experiences Jason has had or has felt in his lifetime. Each song is a story, each verse a chapter of his journey.
If I have one potential beef with the album it’s not simply with this album but with the producer’s “choices” in beat in reference to the lyrics. I can’t be alone in this. As a singer/songwriter myself – I have always felt that the lyrics have to somehow represent the beat to really feel that incredible unity that is felt within one of those songs that ends up practically defining you. I think it’s undeniable when you listen to the different versions of “When I Was Wasted” that the “Oopoe Electrofolk Remix” is an example of truly getting it RIGHT. The other versions of this song do well – they’re good in their own respects – but that haunting element of the lyrics when coupled with the “Oopoe” mix is really brought out.
But let’s face it – these are hopeful but not necessarily “happy” or upbeat in tone or original sample from Chords of Truth. Versions of “Moments” and “What Life Is About” provide some of the lighter sounds to brighten up the album – the “Cold Cheek Electrofolk Remix” was a personal favorite for me. This occurs around track 7 and completes the first run through many of these tracks though some appear less frequently than others. But it’s also significant for another reason – up until this point I honestly wasn’t sure if Jason’s voice worked with this whole genre as much as he might have hoped….I was half sound on the overall sound of it at that point. I found it to lie somewhere in the David Gray-ish kind of sound in his tone but with a completely different delivery. But once this track came on and ran through the first of several times I would listen – I realized that it does work in all kinds of ways.
It tells you a story, like I mentioned before. And that true story is the story of Jason Garriotte of Chords of Truth expanding his horizons and through that potentially your own. It’s the story of a guy who put himself out there in the polar opposite musical spectrum and has found some great success in these new twists on his songs. It might not have gone that way – Jason took a great risk in this endeavor branching out the way he did.
I believe it paid off – and I believe you’ll find a ton of mixes on this track that will convince you as well. Who knows – maybe you’ll be blues-jamming with an electro person yourself? Or maybe Chords of Truth make a folk-metal album next!
The story’s conclusion is to never stop creating, and to never stop loving what you’ve created. You’re all artists – you’re all wonderful people with creative minds that do this for a reason – you love it. Through lending out his art to other artists in the production field – Jason has found a new life with these tracks on the Chords of Truth album – and no matter what the purists might say – this was music to my ears.
Check further into Chords of Truth at: http://www.chordsoftruth.com/
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