Review by Michael Morgan Peter Chauncey's latest album, rhythms of initiation, reels with colorful industrial sounds, soulful singing and ever-changing synth romps. "Body In Motion" starts off with a fat, raunchy, whooping synth bass-line. The artist's heady, soulful voice is backed by a well-arranged set of club-like percussives and kinky synth sizzles. The last 30 seconds of the song culminates in a set of Prince-like cries and harmonies.
"Did I Hear You Say" also carries a soulful swoon but is more ethereal with a floating, rickety synth line that colors most of the song. Ignoring filler-moments, there are some innovative ones during the song where a piano fill rears its head into the chorus periodically; it seems to be the glue that holds the song together nicely.
"Here Are Our Top Stories" has more industrial sounds and field noises within it to keep it busy enough for listener's ears to feast on. These transitional songs are sprinkled throughout the album, certainly making it more intriguing for listeners and fans of experimental electronic music like Moby and M83.
"To the Point of Obsession" has electric-like synth currents running through the song. The singer's voice is raw and uninhibited. He uses backing harmonies (what sound like his own voice) sparingly and well. Even though the singer's voice lacks tone and strength, it has an airy, r-n-b feel to it, similar to Michael MacDonald that listeners will connect with.
"Bridge of Pages" is an orchestral piece combining jazz and classical melodies. It's highly experimental and deviates completely from the previous tracks on the record, which were more electronic and dance-oriented. This song might be a big surprise for listeners, and will either confuse listeners or intrigue them because of its radically different style.
"Belly" is appropriately named, (especially if listened to with a good set of noise-canceling headphones) since the beginning of the song has primal deep bellows that listeners may feel in their bellies. The song ends the way a large metal door would end a chapter in a book about noise. "Damage Under Pressure" is filled with lots of ear candy-- static and vocal fills, along with clanking synth samples. The song's verses are held together by an 80s-like deep bass synth. Chauncey's voice on this song is more Bowie and less MacDonald. Listeners who liked the first few tracks will also enjoy this one as well. The middle of the song gets a bit nu-ravish with a repeating set of synth lines, smiling strobes, but the song quickly gets back on track with its original verses structure.
"Ten Thousand Miles Each Way" like "Bridge of Pages" peels away the dance and trance layers of the artist's craft, with a simple classical piano and his tenor. The song's structure is experimental and less pop-oriented.
"Down the Road" has a bouncy hip-hop rhythm unheard on the album. It has a set of repetitive and hypnotic samples including a resonating machine-like echo and a circuitous acoustic guitar line. Clocking in at 1:29, it is a quick dirgey interlude.
"Can I Come Over" is one of the most pop-n-soul oriented songs on the album but it is a little bit too long for radio as it clocks in at 6:44. The song is well-arranged but could really use more vocal backings. This is the kind of song that Steely Dan might write and perform with other r-n-b veterans like Gladys Night or Patti LaBelle.
"Exploration" blends traditional horn sounds with synth rhythms and atmospherics. A delicately strung harp can also be heard in the background. This song is another one of the artist's experimental transitions into the end of the album. The colorful clanks and soulful rhythms of this album are plenty for listeners to chew on. --Michael Morgan
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Songs that stay with you .. ...Quirky. Definitely Unique..., November 4, 2011 By Dave Winn
This review is from: rhythms of initiation (Audio CD)
The main thing is: the songs are very good! This is an extremely impressive debut for an indie artist. Good voice. Excellent hooks... Strange (in a really good way)... On first listen, it's unpredictable in a way that you definitely want! UNIQUE, although I will say that I hear strong influences from a wide variety of artists (Peter Gabriel, MeShell Ndegeocello, Art of Noise, all kinds of English pop from the 60's). This guy must listen to just about everything!!!...(George Clinton/Parliament/Funkadelic, The Beatles, Japanese and Arabian music, Aphex Twin, Amon Tobin, Prince, Talvin Singh....) and then he makes it into something that is all his own. Some short interludes here too. There is even a short instrumental interlude - the piece is called "Here Are Our Top Stories" that I can really imagine being used on a news program. There are some real standouts here too: The opening song: "Body in Motion"-- Funky...an invitation to party, "To the Point of Obsession" - kind of lyrically puzzling -- in a trance-inducing kind of way, "Bridge of Pages" -with its haunting vocals and abstract lyrics... Lyrically, "Bridge of Pages," subject-wise, reminds me of what it could feel like to work through a lot of trial and tribulation and then realize that you can actually move on with your life... "Damage under Pressure" is one of the most surprising tracks because, for me, is probably one of the first industrial-type songs that I've ever heard that includes a detached soul-brother kind of singing style paired with music that is so totally noisy, driving and pulsing... Finally, I will say that the standout for me is "Can I Come Over" - real deceptively smooth vocals and sly lyrics...that song evolves into a head-shaking, trippy, groove-filled piece of bliss!....absolutely worth the price of admission!!!!...
I can't say enough about "Rhythms of Initiation." I've been listening to the all of the songs - it's been in the top five on my iphone for the past two weeks! Lot of grooves. I'd say it's time... to go ahead... and initiate yourself!...
All words, music, arrangements and performances by Peter Chauncey
Stand-out Tracks: "Body in Motion," "Can I Come Over," "Bridge of Pages," "To the Point of Obsession"
"A Great Artist who dares to be different! Thumbs Up! ***** by Jessy Messy1 - November 11, 2011
An awesome blend of funk, R and B, Pop, jazz, and old school freestyle with a fresh new sound! Take a listen to "Exploration" and you'll be listening "To the Point of Obsession."
...a brief description from Peter Chauncey:
Alternative, electronic funk with strong elements of industrial, "world music" and movie soundtracks.
"Weird, funky, electro-pop soundtracks from -- as Peter describes himself -- the "musical love-child" of David Bowie and Chaka Khan (two of the artist's primary influences)."
Influences: David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Yellow Magic Orchestra/Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tina Turner, Todd Rundgren, Patti Labelle, Hall and Oates, Grace Jones, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Billie Holiday, Trevor Horn, and Aretha Franklin,...and so, so, so many more.