I realize it is an emotionally charged, heated discussion that will continue ad infinitum with no concrete, definitive answer...however I will say that playing songs of twelve minutes plus does not a prog band make and simply leave it at that. I urge the listener to make his/her own decision and like a true proghead, live peacefully among the masses. So in my quest for all things prog and with a strong desire to expand my musical horizons, I took a walk on the Jersey Shore this week listening to the sounds of Midnight Mosaic.
Describing themselves as "...an eclectic collective of entertainers..." Midnight Mosaic has poked the curious side of my cerebellum. Never one to turn thumbs-down without at least a taste, Midnight Mosaic has my undivided attention this week. Walking gingerly to the buffet for my first morsel, I find a song aptly titled "Underdog." The song opens fairly abruptly--a "mini cacophony" of sound if you will-- brought together nicely with some sharp vocals. The drums sit just below the surface through the entire cut like a crossing guard, keeping everybody in line and working in unison. An interesting beginning that could have the makings of an intriguing week...
With a bit more swagger in my step I return to the buffet for a serving of "Bazooka Gumption." With an opening smooth like pressed suede, I half expect Boz Scaggs to be on lead vocals here. The song quickly picks up speed, exposing undertones of latter-day Genesis, Talking Heads, and even a touch of Ultravox. The song is tight and the drums are the definite driving force, once again keeping the guitars in line and the vocals on point.
Liner Notes...Midnight Mosaic is A. t. Hunte on vocals, Trent Carter on guitars, Gil T. Brown on bass, Harrisyn Hartt on keyboards and synthesizers, AJ on drums, and DeeM on backing vocals. Hailing from New Jersey, Midnight Mosaic started in 2011 and almost immediately had an impact. High energy, a strong groove, hard hitting sound, and band members that genuinely seem to enjoy their chosen craft apparently have a better chance of being noticed. The boundaries of prog may be getting stretched this week, but I believe there is always room in the garden for new plantings...and Midnight Mosaic pushes the boundaries of prog in the right direction--far and wide.
Serving number three this week is a tune called "Old School." Somehow this song just seemed the right choice for the moment...and it hits right at chest level. With a nod to Marillion and Consider The Thief, I like the irony the song title throws in your face. Midnight Mosaic leads with keyboards and drums--both of which outhit, outperform, and outlast many of the neo-prog bands I have listened to recently. Harrisyn and AJ work exceptionally well together...but the key to the band's success I believe is Trent allowing his guitar work to be the thread holding the tapestry together rather than the tapestry itself; a rare thing indeed and a statement to not only Trent's confidence but also Midnight Mosiac's trust and belief in one another. Midnight Mosaic has set aside the paradigms, traditions, and unwritten rules of what makes a prog band and lunged for the other side of the music listener's head...territory that needs more exploration if you ask me. Learn more about Midnight Mosaic at http://www.reverbnation.com/rpk/midnightmosaic
The cut posted below is called "Right to Die." A fitting introduction for the next generation of what is growing in the prog garden. Midnight Mosaic comes at you from many sides...showing their ability to be eclectic, loud, artsy, imaginative, and full energy. Midnight Mosaic is able to channel an inner 10cc while coming off as serious as Klaatu; they are a shot of adrenaline sure to wake up and inspire more prog fans eager to venture into the arena.
Expanding boundaries is never easy, often daunting, and usually necessary if one desires to stay relevant. Midnight Mosaic is innovative, fresh, new, and exciting--something the prog garden can always use a strong dose of. This was an exciting week for the concert closet; lots of listening and learning going on.
New adventures coupled with the opportunity to discover stimulating new progressive sounds inspire me to search out bands like Midnight Mosaic--those making a strong case for moving the boundaries of progressive music. One of the unexpected benefits of starting this blog was discovering bands that refuse to conform and actually prefer to challenge the establishment...that is the thought process that gave birth to prog in the first place. In the search for all things prog one must be open to all things prog...until next week...