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Consider The Source - That's What's Up CD (album) cover


Consider The Source

Eclectic Prog

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4 stars I am certainly not a frequent reviewer. But when I realized that nobody had reviewed music by Consider the Source I thought that I should give my point of view and encourage other listeners to give it a try.

So... here I am. Where to start when trying to describe CTS and the music they create? They're a jam band, true, but limiting the description to that statement would be unfair. Typical jam bands create music that becomes boring and redundant after a while, this is definitely not the case here. I can also state that they're very talented musicians... but again, most of the bands listed on this site are very talented too. So?

Let's say that Consider the Source is a power trio using typical instruments (drums, bass, and guitar) to create complex, lush and original instrumental music. Amateurs of brilliant musicianship won't be disappointed. Each instrument is played with brio. One should note the unusual 12 string guitar combining both fretted and fretless parts. The fretless guitar produces atypical sounds of great beauty that can fool many listeners because it replaces the keyboards with great effect.

Their music is a blend of hard-rock with a good part of psych and another significant part of Middle-Eastern influence. Add lots of energy, humour, positivism and a strong sense of melody, stir well. You'll obtain a cohesive music that is anything but plain. And I want to reaffirm that it is c-o-h-e-s-i-v-e. Contrary to most jam bands, some of their songs will stick in your head for hours. That's why, even if they're filed under the eclectic prog etiquette (for good reason), many Neo-prog listeners might be appealed. Most of the songs are multi faceted with sometimes very slow, spacey parts and other time fast paced rythms.

I won't go through a song by song review but let's have a look at Abdiel, the first song. It's one of the few songs recorded live. Intro from outer-space. Heavy reference to middle- eastern sounds. An excellent example of how the fretless guitar may sound. This guy has very agile fingers. Some exceptional jazzy bass parts near the end too. Highly melodic. This is a good example of what these guys can do although not the most complex song of the album.

And a few words on Ol'Chomper: not to be missed. Multi-part song. Awesome melody created by the guitar. One of the highlight of the album although there's not a weak song on it.

Conclusion: If you like complex but melodic music you'll be pleased. I'll restrain myself not to give 5 stars and being referred as a fan boy (although I'm really tempted). 4 stars for this very fresh and inspired music. Do yourself a pleasure, try it at least once, these guys deserve it. The two other albums are also excellent.

Report this review (#391867)
Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The third and most recent Consider the Source album sounds even more math-rocky than the last although there seems to be a lot less sampling and more actual playing of instruments, especially guitar (lots of guitar), bass (lots of bass) and drums (lots of drums). I assume Gabriel Marin is still playing his fretless guitar which is still pretty pretentious but I have to concede also very impressive considering he manages to make it sound easy. He does seem to have shelved the chaturangui though (aka Indian Rickenbacker) which is kind of too bad because I thought that instrument gave the band's music a slightly folksy feel and definitely added an international flavor to the band's sound.

Once again these are all instrumentals since apparently nobody in the band can sing, or maybe they just aren't interested in words. They don't say a hell of a lot on their website either so maybe it's the latter.

The songs tend toward a little more length here than with their prior work as well, with only "I Never Played a Jewel Thief" coming in under seven minutes. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing since the comparative lack of percussion and various taped sounds makes the music sound a bit more pedestrian than the stuff on 'Are You Watching Cloesly?', their 2007 studio release. The group seems to be aiming for more of a guitar arpeggio with weird timings sort of thing this time around, and although the guitar sounds mostly the same but a little heavier, the arrangements are less eclectic with a few exceptions such as the mystical "No Easy Answer" and truly weird riffs and tempo of "How am I not Myself" which includes a bit of guitar work that sounds all the world like it was passed through Peter Frampton's talk box. Pretty cool actually.

"Ol' Chomper" has some riffs that remind me alternately of Dream Theater and Steve Howe (try and reconcile that in your brain!), while "Complex Complex" doesn't sound like it is but knowing the guy playing guitar doesn't have any frets to help him with the non-stop chord changes makes me think it was a bit tougher to pull off than it sounds.

And the closing "The H is O" comes off as a compilation of everything else on the album including wailing guitar and staccato, frenzied drum with a bass line that borders on psychotic. The song starts out a bit slow but by the end I'm thinking something akin to 'Bolero' with amps. Very wickedly tight.

This isn't really my kind of music to tell the truth, and in a lot of ways I preferred the more eclectic and earthy stuff the band cranked out on their second album. But prog fans of all stripes (including metalheads) should find this one appealing, and for that the band deserves a high three stars with at least some consideration for four. Well recommended.


Report this review (#589961)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the most complex Consider The Source album yet. The compositions are the key to this masterpiece. Coming right off the success of the previous album, Are You Watching Closely, That's What's Up provides us with more muilt-bar riffs and unusual rhythms. Extended intros build the mood for tracks like "Abdiel" and "Complex Complex," and the signature middle eastern funk sound is ever present. The album reaches it's peak at the untitled track 5 (incorrectly labeled as "Ol' Chomper" above) which is the band's most epic track to date. It's starts off slow and wailing then quickly builds energy to becoming a bouncing and screaming feel-good song; just when you think it is winding down, the mood changes to cool and then funky before the climactic breakdown which demonstrates every member's virtuosity. Finally the tune ends with a triumphant decrescendo. This is an album that deserves careful listening over and over again.
Report this review (#822112)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012 | Review Permalink

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