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Superfluous Motor - Shipwrecked CD (album) cover


Superfluous Motor


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.04 | 8 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lost at sea never felt this good before

I don't have time to review like I used to so I wait for something that inspires me to fall into my lap by chance. Enter self-described introvert Greg Chambers from Ontario and his album "Shipwrecked" that I happened across in our PA forums. On first play I enjoyed it so much I had to give something back by writing about it. Greg says his instrumental music tells the story of a man being shipwrecked but that we are free to interpret things on our own as well. As an introvert myself that is one aspect that went through my mind, introversion itself. Sometimes it is a lonely place but to be honest it can also be both empowering and fulfilling in different ways. Anyway, to the music...

Fusion is not my strong genre but one doesn't need to be a jazz head to enjoy the wide spectrum of flavors and styles on this album. Chambers is a multi-instrumentalist and Superfluous Motor is a one-man band. You wouldn't know that just by listening though. "Shipwrecked" is diverse-from jazz to funk to experimental rock, this is one of those musical wild rides you need to be strapped in for. I might describe it as somewhere between Deluge Grander and Forever Einstein but only loosely as Superfluous has its own sound. And yet it is not an exercise of forced eclecticism as some bands can be, a pet peeve of mine. (Who cares how "progressive" something is if it isn't fun to listen to?) Instead this is music which provides immediate and accessible pleasure to the listener while being quite adventurous musically.

Strange sound effects mimicking the island survival experience will morph into soothing keyboard passages and then to exotic flavored diversions and back to jamming funk and fusion. Chambers is a superb keyboardist able to jam hard with manic flights of notes one minute and chill you out with serene soundscape or soothing melody the next. It is both intellectually stimulating and just plain fun, despite the dire situation our character finds himself in being shipwrecked and ultimately lost at sea. My favorite parts were the beautiful melody of "It's Hopeless" and the feelings of resignation brought to life by the keys and waves of "Washed Away." The strangeness and creeping unease of "Foraging/Losing Daylight" was perfect. If I have any complaints about the album it would be the lack of a human voice. I like the fact there are no lyrics, but even wordless human vocals could have been used to great effect in a couple tracks. A minor quibble. Some might also complain about the electronic/programmed drumming sound but to be honest they are done well enough here that I wasn't longing for the sweat of another human on drums. This is one of those rare moments where instrumental music really does engage enough in a literal way to tell a story, and many of the tracks are very good musical representations of the track title's subject matter. Bottom line though, "Shipwrecked" is just a really great hour of your time.

Chambers mentions influences as diverse as Tower of Power, Air, The Mars Volta, Cloudkicker, An Endless Sporadic, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Herbie Hancock, Kansas, The Cinematic Orchestra, Rage Against the Machine, Neil Young and what grabbed me of course....PFM. Adventurous enough to please the fans of wild stuff, beautiful enough to please fans of accessible stuff, "Shipwrecked" is one of the brightest surprises I've stumbled on in 2014. You can hear the album along with his previous works on his Bandcamp or Soundcloud pages.

A strong 4-star rating. Seriously folks, check it out.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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