Kennebec EP; a Hidden Masterpiece
Kennebec EP was a wonderful discovery for me. After checking out the list of collaborators on Kalaido's brilliant album, Ghosts of the Floating World, I decided to check out Kennebec who contributed his guitar playing. I was not disappointed. I was pulled in by the cover art for Kennebec EP, illustrated by Tal Stowell. It displays an extraordinary, fantasy-like branching of birds connected to a spiraling tree and floating above water with a view of snowy mountains in the background. The other-worldly imagery and colors mesmerized me and made me deeply curious about the music that this work of art represented. Just as well, the music was also mesmerizing, and it made me appreciate the rich expressiveness of instruments from Kennebec's guitar to collaborator Kelly Pratt's flute playing. Every collaborator here contributed something of emotional expressiveness that harmonized into the kind of music which acquaints one with a unique fusion of genre influences. One can hear certain elements of folk rock, jazz, classical and indie rock, though in the end, the resulting sound achieved is a unique one.
The opening track, "Acacia," immediately begins with an emotionally powerful, mid-tempo sound with various instruments synergizing from Mirabai Peart's violin playing to Eric Phillips (Kennebec's) acoustic and electric guitar playing. Phoenix Glendinning's drums are subtle yet deep and powerful, most especially with the toms. The emotions I feel with "Acacia" are one of profound joy for reasons I cannot put into words immediately. It's interesting how the track's title is "Acacia" and yet a listener can feel different things from the music which may not have anything to do with acacias or nature. In other words, the inspiration of a composer may not very well be the same sort of inspiration that manifests in a listener's mind. When I listen to Acacia, (which I often do from time to time,) I just simply feel just how euphoric the music makes me feel and how excellent the composition from the standpoint of craftsmanship. But, interestingly enough, perhaps Kennebec wanted the listener to experience auditory reminders of the beauty of nature, in particular, acacias.
The track, "Marina," begins with a left-panned acoustic guitar melody that complements the electric guitar on the right channel. Eric Gruber's bass, though perhaps difficult to hear on certain devices, is very subtle and grooves melodically with the other players, adding subtle depth to the composition. Similar to "Acacia," the power of the emotions behind the flute, violin and viola are ecstatic, as if through these instruments, the performers were celebrating the gifts of life, being and consciousness.
"Depending on the Tide" has the most energetic percussion among the three tracks and a heavier tonality to the bass. The cymbals provide rich atmosphere, and the jazz genre is most exemplified here among the three tracks. I appreciate the title of the track. Kennebec EP's album cover and musical themes makes one think of the ocean, the mountains, trees and nature. "Depending on the Tide" almost has a taoist feeling to it, much like in the spirit of Alan Watts, Lao Tzu or Bruce Lee.
Go with the flow (or in this case, the tide,) as the Taoists always say, and let go of trying to control nature.
"Be like water," as Bruce Lee said.
The mixing and mastering on this track were phenomenal. I don't know if Danny Rose was involved in the mixing (as there is no mixer credited, although perhaps Eric Phillips may have done that himself, as he is credited with "production.") The quality of the audio and the crispness of the instruments and mixing pervades throughout my speakers and headphones. An incredible amalgam of talents and professionalism was pooled into this EP, and Kennebec EP shows the power of collaboration when minds synchronize well together to create something brilliant.
Among the three tracks, "Acacia" has to be my favorite, simply because it is a display of how powerful a song can be in spite of its brevity (it's only one minute and forty seconds,) similar to tracks like "Colour of Autumn" by Nujabes or "Disciples," by Tame Impala. Plus, it was my introduction to this amazing artist. As a composer myself, I found this EP to be deeply inspiring since it reminds me of the various creative possibilities of various instruments and how they may harmonize melodically and emotionally.
Kennebec EP is a hidden masterpiece. I highly recommend you check it out on BandCamp, SoundCloud or wherever else it might be available!
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed my reflections on Kennebec EP and music composition, you can check out my music here on my website or in the links below:
Interstellar Souls EP:
You can also check out my e-book, Writing Music is Bliss, on Amazon! In it, I reflect on the psychology of music composition and how one can find serenity through this beautiful art!
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