MUB – Breezes From The Last Century

 MUB – Breezes From The Last Century

MUB – Breezes From The Last Century – EP Review

I happen to know for a fact that this EP has been a long, long time in the making…

…on the bright side, it sounds like things have turned out well for MUB and his piano-based record.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well, right?  Not to mention, you really only get one opportunity to make your debut…so if things take some extra time to make everything you want happen – take as much as you need as far as I’m concerned.  If the quality reaches the point you were looking for once everything is finally finished, and you can stand behind every note & tone, then it’s all worthwhile.  As far as I can tell, MUB should be able to do that with the songs written for Breezes From The Last Century.

You get quite the cross-section of sound on this record overall – Mahir Uskan Batmaz, aka MUB, has done a wonderful job of creating a whole array of different styles for you to enjoy.  Real music lovers will have no problem at all appreciating the music you’ll find on Breezes From The Last Century…the skill of both MUB on the piano and his guest-star vocalist, have put everything they’ve got into every moment.  Quite honestly, much of what you’ll hear should blow your freakin’ mind – like, listen to the incredible vocals on the very first track, called “Look Up” and you’ll know exactly what I mean – the singer is 100% superhuman.  I certainly appreciate the beauty in the piano melody and the way MUB plays too, don’t get me wrong – but with that all being as delicate and gentle as it is, chances are, it’s going to be the vocals of “Look Up” that make the biggest impact on the people out there listening.  Gathering strength with each passing lyrical line, the finale of “Look Up” is so massively strong you wanna stand up and cheer from your seat at home…it’s the kind of finish so impressive you’d think that MUB would have chosen to close out the EP with this song, as opposed to starting the experience with “Look Up” instead.  In any event, you’re certainly not going to find me complaining – the musicianship is gorgeous, the vocals are even more-so, and all-in-all, “Look Up” is as magnificently written as it is performed by both.  This song’s biggest notes are monumental to say the least…the singer is a complete and total revelation.

As far as I know, the following song called “Cada Vez Al Nombrarte A Ti” would be sung in Spanish…at least that’s what I think I’m hearing…unfortunately I’m not multi-lingual and barely passed both French and Italian when I took those courses back in high school, long before there was so much grey in my beard as there is now.  Anyhow!  Like I’ve always stated here on these pages of ours – music is a feeling to begin with, and the universal language, as they say.  Personally I like the fact that you get a different journey into cross-cultural sound here…and the quality of what you hear on Breezes From The Last Century never disappoints, no matter which track you’re listening to.  The piano playing of MUB is supremely passionate and a fantastic match to the vocals on this song – they’re both knocking it straight outta the park on “Cada Vez Al Nombrarte A Ti” as far as my ears are concerned, and I love artists like these two that choose to use their platform to add a little bit of culture to the lives of listeners out there.  I’ll readily admit that Breezes From The Last Century isn’t exactly the kind of record that’s in true lockstep with what’s out there in the scene right now or popular on western radio stations & whatnot – but that’s a large part of what makes it special as well…you feel like you’ve found something to treasure that other people wouldn’t know about when you listen to this EP…like these songs have been made just for you.  Tracks like “Cada Vez Al Nombrarte A Ti” are always going to strike the western side of the world as sounding like they’ve been made for a musical or theater play…which admittedly makes things more challenging for MUB to have a song like this on every playlist out there to a degree, but I maintain – if you love SKILL, TALENT, BEAUTY, and CULTURE combined, you’ll absolutely love “Cada Vez Al Nombrarte A Ti” and once again be truly astonished by the level of awesomeness in the music & vocals.

The personality you’ll find on this EP is fantastic – it’s genuinely charming.  From what’s being sung, to how it’s being sung & how it’s being played – chances are, many of you out there will find MUB’s debut to be as irresistible and endearing as I do.  There’s something so remarkably humble about this record that it’s hard to put into words…I suppose it’s just one of those experiences where I wasn’t really expecting to find what I did, so the element of surprise really hit me in the right way, you know what I mean?  Like, “The Shades Of Gray” was a brilliant mix of colorful vibes and spectacular highlights, backed by a stellar jazzy lead piano performance from MUB, with lead vocals that defy description for how great they sound once again.  It’s BIG note after BIG note…and by the time you reach the finale, you can practically feel the push of wind from your speakers as the vocals hit the most gigantic note on the EP so far, and truly require a savage amount of force in order to pull that moment off.  It’s what you’d call something to behold folks…”The Shades Of Gray” ends up going from a quaint & appealing beginning to an ending that would have an audience throwing roses onstage to say THANK-YOU for the experience.  If anything that I’d recommend, I think MUB’s got more room to express himself on a musical level…like, we get very few moments where there’s music without vocals, and the dude can really play – so a solo here & there would probably be something I’d recommend.  Which is honestly hard to even do, because I absolutely love listening to this lady sing…she’s beyond amazing, and gives MUB’s music a whole second layer of spectacular sound that’s a perfect complement to the way he plays, and vice versa.  But like, have a listen to the way “The Shades Of Gray” begins and you’ll know what I mean…having a section like that instrumental moment pop back in later on for a brief breakdown, or adding a solo into the mix somewhere, could go a long way to have listeners recognize how exceptional the musicianship in MUB’s music really IS as well.  With vocals as endlessly impressive as you’ll find they are on this record, it could be very easy for the rest of everything else to fade straight into the background in the ears of the masses out there…all I’m saying is that would be a true crime – they’re both 100% fantastic.

“After You (I Miss You)” might very well be the best cut on this EP…or at the very least, be one of the songs that people relate to the most in its tale of heartbreak.  Lyrically, it’s an insightfully sad song – and whether we like to admit it or not, quite often those are the songs that tend to connect with us the most.  What I really like about this track is that we do get a few instrumental breaks along the way that allow us the opportunity to appreciate the emotion of MUB’s piano playing – and I love the way the vocals add a bit of a soulful edge to the way this song is sung as well.  Pace-wise, “After You (I Miss You)” moves fairly slowly, but precisely, and with purpose – there’s a lot of space in this track in between the vocals and the music, but it gives us all the opportunity to really appreciate how mesmerizing this tale truly is.  You can look at songs like this from two completely different angles really – ultimately, there’s no doubt about the sparkling beauty you’ll find within what you hear and how much of a testament to love “After You (I Miss You)” is – but by that same token, when that love disappears, it becomes so sad & so devastating that it’s practically guaranteed to cause at least a few of you to reach for the Kleenex.  All-in-all, it’s extremely impressive, stunningly effective, and staggeringly real…I’d be a lot more shocked to learn this song wasn’t based on real-life experiences than if it was, you know what I mean?  You don’t reach this degree of shocking emotional honesty without having survived something genuinely life-altering.  I really couldn’t take my ears off of this one though…I have a penchant for sad songs to begin with that I can’t personally escape, but there’s a real classic grace & beauty that enchants this song too.

Could I have lived without “Let Me Far Away From The Blues?”  Sure!  I mean…let’s be real here – for a debut record, MUB was practically running a perfect score there for a moment…eventually, he had to reveal a crack or two in his armor, and this is that track.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still well-played and well-performed as any other song on this record is – it’s just not my thing when it comes to style/sound.  The theatrical aspect of “Let Me Far Away From The Blues” ends up being noticeably enhanced by the vocal asides that come along through the verses…and yeah…I suppose it gives this particular song a cabaret-esque performance-minded approach, like it’s trying for your attention, rather than gaining it naturally like this pair of talents have achieved track after track so far to this point on the EP.  The main hooks however, are exceptional, and gorgeous when it comes to the melody & how they’re sung with such impeccably soulful tones.  I love the actual SOUND of the piano more than I like the parts being played…it’s a somewhat camp take on a Blues-type of vibe, and that’s just never really been my genre of choice.  If this was YOUR favorite song, I certainly wouldn’t hold it against ya…like I said, it’s still as well-played and performed as any other, this duo of talents maintains their professionalism, and there’s definitely appeal to the sweetness found within the main hooks – it could easily be anyone’s favorite just as much as any other song could be.  That being said, it ain’t mine!  I enjoy it, but it ain’t my favorite.

Taking the finale of this EP into a more gospel-esque style of writing, “Abdulbaha” finishes off the record with a powerfully moving final tune.  I might not have a single religious bone in my body personally, but I always appreciate where those that do come from, and respect their choices.  From what I understand, “Abdu’l-Bahá,” “served as head of the Baháʼí faith from 1892 until 1921” – so he must be fairly influential still to this day if MUB’s chosen to pay homage & tribute him by writing this song about him.  I don’t know anything outside of music, and nothing outside of music is of any importance to me – I’m so very much of a one-dimensional person, that it’s absolutely embarrassing how little about the world I know.  I can tell ya this much though, MUB and his musical cohort on the mic sure make things sound good – so I’d assume “Abdulbaha” did some great things for this planet…they sure sound appreciative in this song as they honor his name, and I’m more than happy to take their word for it.  I’ll be as honest with ya as I always am, and readily tell ya that the first four songs on this EP were the most substantially moving to me personally, but I certainly wouldn’t hold it against anyone if they felt like the final two tracks were just as strong.  We all like what we like, and we all love what we love – and not every song we listen to on any record can be our favorite at the same time.  All you can ever do, is put your heart and soul into everything you do, and not let yourself down when it comes time to push record…and I feel like MUB has put himself in a great position to stand behind every one of these songs in the final results.  Everything is played with passion, heart, and purpose – and sung with equal amounts – at the end of the day, as different as it is from so much of what’s out there in the scene right now, it’s a record that boasts radiant quality in the performances to production, and MUB should really be proud of it all.

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