Colin L. Orchestra: Infinite Ease Made Easy
Three years of scheming, arranging, tracking, waiting, steeping thoughts, and meticulous crafting has brought Colin Langenus' (ex-USAisaMonster) new full length solo album, "Infinite Ease" to fruition. It is a beautiful, staggering testament to visions realized, and the process of flux inherent in the creative process.
With full disclosure I must admit that I am a close friend of Colin and I supplied drums on the last cut of the record, so I have witnessed that process to some small degree. Dozens of folks participated in the creation of this record, but the concept, heart and soul, and driving energy was all from Colin. It is a deeply personal recording which was enabled through the efforts of a community of friends and collaborators, The Colin L Orchestra. The original concept of combining the easeful, bluesy, laid-back vibes of country music with avant-garde minimal repetition survived the three years of growth and change. The sound transformed and became its own entity, new and exciting.
What really strikes me about "Infinite Ease" is the wonderful quality of production which make the recording sound polished and whole, innovative but never overdone. Production credits are attributed to Colin and Eli Winograd. Eli's solo project, Two Prong, is a soulful and eclectic collection of sonic delights. His earlier solo work as Two Prong was electronic and more abstract, whereas the newer record "good vs. bad" is lush textural pop. It seems that the duo's inventive arrangements for "Infinite Ease" came to life in studio mixing sessions. The fidelity of the recording is total, giving great hope for the new genesis of home recordings enabled by Pro Tools and such. I can state all this with conviction based upon my experience laying down rhythm tracks for the song "Best Thing" in September 2007. We recorded in a musky basement in Virginia, with low ceilings and no real sound treatment or dampening. Hearing the simple arrangement that we learned just hours before recording transformed to such a lustrous gem via studio manipulation and sonic honing is incredible and inspiring.
The album is divided into three tracks, the first of which is actually four distinct songs. The opening tune, "You Need Sleep" is laid down with help from the Boston's, Devil Music Ensemble, with supple bass via Jesse Lent and gorgeous ethereal flute from Maxx Katz. Colin's vocals are beautiful, contemplative and spot on. In no other past project was the quality and range of his voice thusly displayed. I especially enjoy the ghostly falsettos which occur on this cut, and several other times throughout the album. "Beer Can Blues" follows the dreamy repetition of the opener with a unique and slightly jarring rhythm which sounds as if it was created from ping pong balls bouncing off a warm sounding alarm tone. This cut is by far the most raucous of the album. As the intro to the song concludes, a party whistle blows and the train leaves the station full force. The familiar country vibe of the record returns with a wilder edge, then melts into "Descaped". This is essentially a washy melodic segue with wailing psychedelic guitar leads soaring overtop. It begins with haunting fiddle and the tones stack until flutes swirl and finally the guitar takes over. I felt almost like I was droning away with Sigur Ros the first time I listened to the album, until Colin's signature guitar shred crept in, not unlike Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" interpretation.Â Track one concludes with "Numbers Hall", a classy and comic ditty reminiscent of Graham Parsons at his best. Vocal lines are repeated over and over: musings such as "I just want to fornicate, to fornicate, to fornicate....." and "I should shut up and do the dishes, do the dishes, do the dishes....."
"Hold Tite" is a gentle beast unto itself. This is the most experimental and delicate piece of the record. It is warbly, sprawling, deconstructed and heart wrenching. I recommend giving it a listen on some quality head phones if possible. All tracks are completely treated, even
the percussion, to create a somber, dreamy, druggy anthem, complete with Acapella breakdowns and insect noises. Nice one.
The final cut "Best Thing" has the sound of a monster Neil Young riff repeated for ten minutes with some high flying guitar leads and crucial dynamics, which keep the jam fresh. It is indeed a monster and a head bobber, with boldly projected vocals, full of conviction, or perhaps irony? All in all, it's a nice closer to a brilliant record, which keeps the listener engaged throughout. It is easy to listen to over and over, while driving, writing, thinking, or doing the dishes...and feels unique and original, whilst obviously rooted in very familiar American musical traditions.
This fine platter of psychedelic country minimalist songwriting is slated to be released Spring 2010 from Providence R.I.'s Corleone records, on 12" vinyl and as digital download. Â It's a stark contrast to Langenus' first Corleone release "The American Dream: Living with the Rock", a lo-fi production of hilarious short songs tackling most all genres: dub, noise, punk, country and karaoke, etc. Â "Infinite Ease" is now available as a short run CD-R direct from Colin himself until the official release in Spring. Â Contact him for mail order inquiries. ( firstname.lastname@example.org) This is bound to be a universally lauded release for 2010. Â "Infinite
Ease" is a sleeper cell success, made infinitely listenable through painstaking efforts.
Words by Matthew R. Clark
2 Responses »
Leave a Response