Headtrip Acoustic Project – The Rising – EP Review
As much as a guy might TRY to listen to everything out there, I’ve long known that’s pretty much impossible at the exponential rate music grows daily with new bands & artists entering into the scene. So I get it…I know I’ll never hear it all, and I’m at peace with that…for the most part…usually…kinda…
…it’s only when I discover a record like this released a year back that it genuinely chaps my ass…that’s when I completely regret not being able to listen to everything that’s out there…because the idea of somehow missing The Rising by Headtrip Acoustic Project would be about the worst crime I can think of. What if this hadn’t found its way magically onto my playlists? Then what? I was supposed to just keep on getting old and die one day just never having heard this? You kidding me? That’s no way to go out.
Beginning with the title-track – what else can be said other than what Headtrip Acoustic Project does at the very outset of “The Rising” is essentially what I wish EVERY band & artist out there could pull off for a first impression – this song is amazing to experience, and within mere SECONDS of it starting up! If you can’t hear the impressive technique and unbelievable tone, the insightful atmospherics in the mix, the all-out stunning ideas & sound…then there’s honestly no helping you whatsoever – this record and these songs you’ll find should be EVERYONE’S jam. I really dig the post-grunge vibes that you’ll find on “The Rising” and the sweetness they can pack into the hooks, brightening up the sound with incredible warmth and flawless precision. Listening to them come to the perfectly conclusive ending of this very first song already had me wanting to throw my arms up in the air and cheer them for this victory – for an instrumental band to be this universally appealing and contain such remarkable sound is beyond rare. Mind you, this could all very well have something to do with the fact that they’re cheering as well in this song through its chorus too…I come by these feelings honestly; they’ve worked in a remarkable amount of uplifting vibes & energy into aura and atmosphere of “The Rising” that immediately gets you onboard. It’s mystifying, it’s got edge to it, tension & contrast between the light & dark, insatiable groove that can’t be denied, and all-out flashy hooks that transcend what people think they know about what instrumental music can offer them, proving that songs as engaging as this could verifiably compete against any song with vocals & lyrics on your playlists. I know what would be found at the top of mine – and it’s coming directly from this record, every single, amazing morsel of music it has to offer, will be proudly blasted loud & proud from this little studio of ours for years & years & years to come. I know I’m only writing about the first song at this point in the review, but obviously I’ve heard the rest of the record by now as well…I can’t hide my excitement & enthusiasm when it comes to this amazing band. Check them out below playing “The Rising” live on the streets of Berlin!
Honestly…there’s zero doubt about the potential of this project & trio to reach any goal they set for themselves – this is world-class stuff, through & through. Listening to tracks like “The Rising” and “Heart Of Steel” (or literally ANY of the others) is like listening to music you can somehow see in your mind as they play it. The way they use their signature tapping techniques or the body of their guitars to add in the percussion & beat to the song…the insane amount of rhythm and groove – I mean…dear readers, dear friends, I’m sure you’re sensing my enthusiasm here by now, but this…THIS is really what creating captivating music is all about…this is an experience. The clever transitions and shifts in the melody of “Heart Of Steel” have that Explosions In The Sky/Mogwai-esque like shine & brilliance, just a lot less loud and more subtle here in this acoustic-based setting. Spectacular structures and performances…every single song, time and again throughout The Rising EP – not only does it sound exceptional here in the recording beyond any possible expectation you could have, but you can absolutely hear how incredible this music they make would be to experience live. Watching & listening to them navigate through the shifts of style, pace, and sound throughout a song like “Heart Of Steel” – would be full-on amazing. I love the slow-burning intensity they bring to this song…it continues to mount & build up, but rather than explode it into anything overblown or out of sync with the rest of the idea, they keep a controlled lid on the smoldering sounds of “Heart Of Steel” to keep the heat they create from full on bursting into flames.
Hmmm…I should have saved my ‘insane amount of rhythm and groove’ comment for “Battlefield” – can I get away with using that twice? I mean, it’s the fault of Headtrip Acoustic Project if they keep adding that into their songs isn’t it? I’m just reporting the facts as I hear’em. It might be more subtly displayed along the surface of “Battlefield,” but that ‘insane amount of rhythm and groove’ still thrives strongly. There’s zero not to love about “Battlefield” – this band has an exceptional grip on the effects of layering their instruments together and using the space between them to their advantage…I’m tellin’ ya – Headtrip Acoustic Project is a diamond in the rough and one of the most obviously ready-for-the-next-level-whatever-it-may-be bands I’ve heard in years. It’s not only because they play fantastically with passion & true personality – it’s also because these ideas are flat-out exceptional, genuine, and authentic to themselves in every possible way you can imagine. I’ll put it to you this way – I could pick Headtrip Acoustic Project out of a lineup blindfolded already…and to have this much identity in an instrumentally-based band already, is actually nothing short of phenomenal. This crew deserves a ton of credit – “Battlefield” is as high-quality of an idea with as much incredible execution as any of the rest you’ll hear on The Rising – there is not a single weak point to be found on any of the songs you’ll hear on this record. At the end of the day, it’s continuously interesting to the ears, and at all times – doesn’t seem to matter which direction they turn, this trio is firing on all cylinders creatively and putting in performances that merit awards – “Battlefield,” like the rest on this record, are all the proof you need of the next-level capabilities & extraordinary potential of where this band could go…which is anywhere they’d like to. World’s their oyster as far as I’m concerned…I can’t get enough of this EP, and I know I wouldn’t be anywhere close to alone in that…this is music that could truly travel the globe permanently.
The wonderfully bendable vibes of “Ramingo” seem to flow fluidly, naturally, and organically right from the drop, adding in that solid beat from the hollow-bodies of their guitars and using harmonics in genius riffs that’ll genuinely leave ya speechless. It’s almost hard to argue any one of these songs is more adventurous or complex than the rest, but you can hear in the ambitious structure and incredible sound of “Ramingo” that the commitment & focus brought to the approach & way they make music completely pays off for them once more. Each of these songs offers you a different dimension of a unified vision for what this sound can be now & a glimpse of what it can continue to become later on – “Ramingo” flexes multiple styles in a hybrid combination, heading into bright easy-to-access melodies, and at other times, more artistically designed moments like you might expect from a band like Tortoise. Headtrip Acoustic Project puts remarkable skills & talent on display at every turn throughout the fluid flow and malleable sound of “Ramingo,” revealing just how spectacular the results can be from having the courage to follow through on & commit to their wildest & more ambitious ideas. Love the distance between the elements of the music and in the atmosphere surrounding them…there’s a real mastery in sound and how the instrumentation interacts…the kind that only comes from being right where you belong. These champions – Alessandro Zangrando (guitar, didgeridoo & vocals), Giovanni Agostini (guitar & vocals) & Niccolò Matterazzo (percussion, didgeridoo & vocals) – ALL deserve a massive shout-out for an EP stocked full of authentically unique and verifiably amazing material from start to finish.
“Vikings” powerfully concludes what’s already been decisively one of the best records I’ve heard this year without question…doesn’t matter to me if this was released in 2018 or not, it’s all-new to me, and it is STUNNING, wall to wall, full-stop. Headtrip Acoustic Project goes big here at the end with an epic build-up in this final cut and an expand length of eight-plus minutes…and I could easily take another eight more…of ANY of these songs. LISTEN to the transition on the way into the three-minute mark will ya? How about the tension, intensity, and drama that come right in afterwards? The slight echo in the background as Headtrip Acoustic Project tap & riff their way to victory, creating the one of the most exquisite & exceptional journeys in music I’ve ever heard in this style. The technique is as exceptional as the ideas are, allowing this trio of extraordinary musicians to fully realize their potential through the astounding skill they individually possess and how they’ve combined it all into something even more special through the music they’re making in this band. This isn’t just a good or great record – everything about The Rising should and WILL blow your mind and drop your jaw in amazement…because this is such a welcome breath of fresh air in style & sound that endlessly flexes quality ideas & highly innovative, audibly engaging structures at all times. “Vikings” won’t let you down in the slightest – if you’re wondering what they can achieve in a song that’s practically double the length of the rest on this record, believe me, you’ll want to grab your popcorn & have a seat to fully absorb & enjoy the full scope & epic adventure this final cut provides. Every time it came on, that slow churn of the guitars and the bright melody over top gave me chills…again, comparing them to a band like Mogwai, you’ll find that similar style of songwriting & sound-building at work here, revealing more strength, note after note, until you’re all of a sudden right in the thick of a sonic adventure you’ll never want to end. And like to think that Headtrip Acoustic Project can go from 2:50-3:10 essentially and somehow NOT milk that amazing moment into a full song of its own, just proves how much extraordinary depth you’ll find in the ideas, sounds, and talents possessed within this band. There’s not a single song on this record that’s short of brilliant from the ideas to the execution – “Vikings” at double the length of the rest is simply more of what you were already loving in a more expanded form with a bit more opportunity to twist and turn…but certainly not one iota any less captivating than any of the others, more like twice the awesomeness! Beyond impressed with what I’ve heard from Headtrip Acoustic Project on The Rising – they deserve a champion’s medal or award for this extraordinary effort and it’s my sincere hope that everyone out there takes a moment or two to hit play on this remarkable EP & experience music that’s made with true passion, phenomenal instincts, and stellar ideas that will redefine your attachment to instrumental music or bring your love for it roaring back to life – I couldn’t live without this record now.
Find out more about Headtrip Acoustic Project by visiting the official pages below!
Official Homepage: http://www.headtripacousticproject.com – coming soon!
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