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THE NERVE INSTITUTE

Crossover Prog • United States


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The Nerve Institute biography
The Nerve Institute is the current incarnation of a one-man project that's been active in some form for nearly a decade now. Variously has been called The Wolf Tickets, Jerusalem, and Sinthome; Ficciones was released by ReR/Ad Hoc under Sinthome. I cut my proverbial teeth on the D.I.Y./punk scene in Kansas City, which back around 2000 appeared to hold semi-utopian promise to the very na´ve kind of kid I was at the time. I drummed or played guitar or bass in a number of bands of whom maybe a dozen people on Earth have very sharp memories and who were passed over like the Hebrews in Egypt on the night of the Tenth Plague by everyone else: Culture Camp (noisy art-punk), Kill Brochtune (sort of prog-punk that in retrospect was strikingly ahead of its time -- I didn't write the material, hence my boastfulness), Dish (power-pop), Jimmy D and the Rotten 3 (ridiculous meltdown), the Wrecking Ball (backing band for the tremendously talented singer-songwriter Ben Summers), Mind the Gap (free improv). This led to some session & live work of various sorts, maybe most notably with It's Over -- onetime Next Big Thing of Kansas City -- and Tut Tut, the solo project of Alex Abnos of the recently-signed group Secret Cities.

Architects of Flesh-Density is my eighth LP of new compositions, the first under the Nerve Institute name. Entirely self-composed, self-played, self-recorded, self-produced as per all the others, save their occasional guest spots. Most notable among these was probably the appearance of Jacob Holm-Lupo (White Willow, the Opium Cartel) on Ficciones, donating some guitar and synth. I haven't performed any of my music live for almost six years, due variously to a distaste for teaching people to play it to my tremendously anal standards, disgust with the whole enterprise of The Music Business and, frankly, with audiences in general, and less dire stuff as well -- getting a B.A. in English lit, giving a few lectures at philosophy conferences, currently finishing a novel to be published next year.

Of the records I've made, the only ones I would claim today are the two Sinthome records, Ficiciones and the unreleased A Woman Has Given Birth to a Calf's Head (2008), and of course the new Nerve Institute LP.

Bio provided by M. Judge

The Nerve Institute official website

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THE NERVE INSTITUTE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Ficciones (as Sinthome)
2010
3.80 | 23 ratings
Architects of Flesh-Density
2011

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THE NERVE INSTITUTE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Architects of Flesh-Density by NERVE INSTITUTE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 23 ratings

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Architects of Flesh-Density
The Nerve Institute Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Architects Of Flesh Density' - The Nerve Institute (8/10)

Much like Toby Driver's maudlin of the Well, The Nerve Institute is a project that makes surreal and dense, yet quaint, charming music. A one man ordeal from Mike Judge (presumably not the one of Beavis And Butthead fame), I am glad to have come across an album from a new artist that doesn't give itself all up at once. As the name may suggest, 'Architects Of Flesh Density' is a strange album with unexpected turns, verging on the avant- garde, yet drawing enough conventional flair to keep people from losing their minds. The album may be difficult to explain all in one review, but I'll try.

To set up a foundation of this project's sound, this is a largely keyboards driven album, although everything from guitars to violins and saxophones pop in at one point or another. Also prevalent is the voice of Judge himself, sounding alot like Neal Morse, formerly of Spock's Beard. With this baseline binding the songs together, the songs each have their own twists to make them distinct. A fair example of this would be on the album's second song, 'Prussian Blue Persuasion', in which an exotic violin is used to give the music an extra spice. Instrumentally, Judge's forte is with the keyboards, and I may be inclined to say it sounds like he has a background in jazz music from the way he plays.

The music could be well labelled as eclectic avant-rock, although Judge's vocals lend a much more accessible vibe to the music. As I have said, his voice is very similar to that of Neal Morse; warm, not technically accomplished yet melodic and personable. In a way, this contrasts the instrumentation, which is not all that melodic, and would be called 'weird' any day before being melodic and intimate. The album does take several listens to digest, and if anything can be said for The Nerve Institute, it's that Mike Judge put in much time and effort into making the album as good as it could be. This is highly inventive music, although I do get the impression that The Nerve Institute's music gets a little too detached for its own good, wandering off into space without much regard for the listener. Of course, this meandering feeling (that gets emphasized towards the second half of the album) offers a surreal vibe to the album that compliments it, as far as its atmosphere is concerned.

Details aside, 'Architects Of Flesh Density' is a strange album from a strange project.

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 Architects of Flesh-Density by NERVE INSTITUTE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 23 ratings

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Architects of Flesh-Density
The Nerve Institute Crossover Prog

Review by zravkapt
Special Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

4 stars This is the first official Nerve Institute album although M. Judge (who is Nerve Institute) has released other albums under different names. I streamed this album and I was unaware when first listening to it that I was listening to a one-man-band project. That goes to show just how talented Mr. Judge is. He wrote, played, produced, etc. just about everything on this album himself, with maybe a little bit of help here and there. The music is generally hard to describe as there is so much going on in every song. The use of many different instruments makes for a full sound. The guitars and drums are sometimes very jazzy. Sometimes the guitars are more metal sounding and electric pianos are used often.

Throughout the album you can notice the sound of digital glitches, usually at the beginning or end of a song. The song titles seem to based on different languages. There is a very eclectic mix of styles on this album and the music constantly changes, going from one section to another yet nothing ever seems forced or boring. "Horror Vacui" opens the album with overdubbed electric pianos before some call and response vocals. Gets both rocking and melodic afterwards. The melodic parts with acoustic guitar are my faves. Cool altered electric piano near the end. "Prussian Blue Persuassion" may be the catchiest song here. Nice violin(?) in this track. Features some fusion-y guitar playing. An abrupt tempo change arouind 6 minutes as the music starts to get more intense and dissonant. Some folky Mediterranean/MidEastern inspired music here and there. Skronking sax at one point.

"Tooth & Flea Korowod" has some great keyboard sounds. This almost has a Mars Volta vibe at the start. Gets intense and almost math-rock-y in the middle. Some backwards effects at points. Lots going on and never a dull second. "La Jalousie" begins creepy and spacey sounding with some quiet talking. Then it gets loud and rocks out. Love the robotic altered vocals here. Great electric paino in this song. Great drumming as well. "Hadassah Esther Cruciform" opens with some cool experimental techno sounds and more digital glitches. Switches immediately to a Phish type vocal song. Then it gets instrumental with some great playing. The vocal part returns. Cool Mellotron-like sounds in the middle, followed by a great section with marching drumming and nice piano chords. Just drums and guitar soloing for awhile.

"Bande magnetique...at the Ossuary" opens with the sound of bells and then vocals and jazzy playing. There is a main melody here on guitar and/or keyboards which is fantastic and gets reprised again. Nice mix of electric and acoustic guitars. Some awesome guitar soloing in the middle. Gets avant and noisy for the last minute or so. For a one-man-band recording this is fantastic. The sound and production is top quality. The compositions are well done and keep the prog spirit alive for 2011. This is definately 'prog' but it is not retro or derivitive. This may just be my favourite prog album of 2011. This is way too recent for me to give a 'masterpiece' rating to...but it may end up becoming one. If you like your modern prog adventurous and unpredictable, then this is the album for you. A solid 4 stars.

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 Architects of Flesh-Density by NERVE INSTITUTE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.80 | 23 ratings

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Architects of Flesh-Density
The Nerve Institute Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Mike Judge originally from Kansas City but now living somewhere in Texas does it all folks. Drums, lead guitar, sax, keyboards, bowed strings, synths, mellotron, electronics and on and on. He recorded it and played all the instruments and of course wrote the lyrics. Udi Koomran mastered this beast when it was all finished. Udi is the master at making sure it sounds like it should.The music here is so interesting that it's hard to put into words. A definite Avant-garde flavour and yet it really blurs the lines between what is considered melodic and accessible and what is experimental and left of center.The music is quite dense as there always seems to be a lot going on. I've been listening to "Part The Second" by MAUDILIN OF THE WELL and I often get the same vibe from these two albums.You know there's something really special happening but at times it isn't very clear what that is,you just know it. I call that going over my head.This album does that a lot.

"Horror Vacui" won me over quickly with what sounds like Fender Rhodes to start. Outbursts of sound come and go as the vocals join in. Love the uplifting sections with strummed guitar and vocals. Some angular guitar after 2 1/2 minutes then it turns mellow with vocals a minute later. A great sounding section from before 6 minutes to the end.

"Prussian Blue Persuasion" is led by drums and electric piano early as vocals and a full sound follows. Bowed strings come in after the vocals stop and the guitar follows.Vocals are back before 3 minutes. More instrumental work follows right to the end. Man I love this stuff.

"Tooth & Flea Korowod" opens with vocals and drums. Atmosphere and angular guitar take over then the vocals return. We get a repetitive rhythm after 6 minutes as the guitar does it's thing. It kicks back in before 7 1/2 minutes but it's brief.

"Die Neue Moritat..." is a short piece that opens in an experimental manner as the drums join in then guitar. It's experimental again to end it.

"La Jalousie" is haunting to start then it kicks in heavily. It settles back then we get vocals.Vocals stop and the guitar leads 3 1/2 minutes in. It's angular a minute later and the organ comes in. It settles after 6 1/2 minutes with keys and more.

"Hadassah Esther Cruciform" opens with vocals and as usual a lot going on instrumentally. A heavier and darker passage comes in before 4 minutes. A calm after 7 minutes.

"Banbe Magnetique...At The Ossuary" is the longest track at over 12 minutes.Vocals to start but it becomes all instrumental fairly quickly.Vocals are back though before 2 1/2 minutes briefly. A more powerful sound follows but it's also brief. Love the instrumental passages. Angular guitar after 6 minutes. Great section ! It settles before 10 minutes and dissonant sax ends it.

Udi mentioned that this album and CALOMITO's latest are two albums that contain the kind of music that he longs for.That's saying something.

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