Tuesday, August 16, 2016

House of Not

Warm "Dog Days of Summer" greetings fellow progheads!  The mercury refuses to settle down into the belly of the thermometer, which is fitting because the prog garden has been exceptionally hazy, hot, and humid while the search for all things prog continues on.  This week I decided to take yet another tangent and post a new episode of "...and now for something completely different..."  In a meager attempt to cool off during this heat wave, the Concert Closet treks north to visit friends in the cozy tundra known as Canada...welcome to the world of House of Not.

House of Not is a prog band on a mission; a five album odyssey actually, with three of said albums recorded and available for your enjoyment.  Record number four is due later this year, and the finale that rounds out the "trilogy plus two" is due later in the future.  The mission seems as simple as it is complex and grandiose; release a five album concept/odyssey chronicling the life/journey of one A. Nexter Niode.  Now my interest is piqued...my curiosity needle tilting toward red....

Giving in to my minor OCD affliction, I start with the first album, "Off the Path"  and continue the trend with the first song from said album, "Force of Nature."  The concept begins with a strong instrumental piece...do I hear a didgeridoo?  The drums get your pulse rate up as the keyboards and background vocals lay the groundwork for an inner cranium blast. Top notes of Spock's Beard flow through this piece like warm threads of caramel wrapping around an apple. House of Not has taken the first step...let the trek continue...

Diving into album number two entitled, "Sexus," I line the laser up on a cut called, "Is That the Best You Can Do?"  The opening is cautionary; almost surreal as the tempo builds slowly and purposefully. Vocals are haunting at first, then they move into the accusatory.  I get a sense of the original Jesus Christ Superstar release...a melodic, wide-open, emotional outpouring filling the canvas with bright colors that are explosive, exciting, and defiant all at once.  House of Not expands the journey and takes the listener deeper into the prog garden as Nexter comes of age.  I detect aromatics of Transatlantic and a hint of Roxy Music in this piece.

Liner Notes...House of Not hails from Toronto, Canada and the mastermind behind the entire project is one Brian Erikson.  Brian created and wrote the music, plays keyboards, performs vocals, and arranges orchestration...not too many hats.  Brian is joined by Ken O'Gorman on guitars, mixing, and production, and Eric Stever on guitars and FX.  The trio is accompanied by a myriad of guest performers and contributors; the who's who list includes Dee Brown, Dione Taylor, Stan Miczek, Troy Feener, Lou Roppoli, and Omar Ales.

Begun in 2002, the House of Not Project is an ongoing saga with Parts I, II, and III already released, and Part IV due before the sand falls out of the hourglass that is 2016.  With this "progventure," House of Not isn't just filling a canvas with pictures--they are creating an entire art book; a music portfolio of sorts.  House of Not has taken a unique approach to the concept album with this endeavor.  While the story may be complete, it has not been totally shared with the world; rather it is being brought to life in five distinct stages--a vast undertaking. Compelling orchestration and a strong foundation make this "pentalogy" a worthwhile journey.

My final selection for review this week is a cut from Part III, "On the Madness of Crowds."  The song is called "Was It As Good For You?"  The blues overtones drip from this cut like honey from the dripper...and just as seductively.  The vocals cut through you layer by layer, exposing your heart and then gently caressing it while it beats.  The background horns are understated just enough to keep you drawn in like moth to flame.  The album is worth purchasing for this cut alone...

Learn more about House of Not and this prog rock odyssey at House of Not.  There is also a Facebook page where you can check out their latest releases and keep up with the status of the journey at House of Not FB.  Be in the know when Part IV, "Evergone & The Immaculate Spectacular," hits the streets later this year.  Of course, you can also follow the band on Twitter at @HouseofNot .

The clip below is another from the House of Not's latest release, called "Running With the Crowd." Furthering the chronicles of Nexter, this piece has a more upbeat tempo, reminiscent of Alan Parsons Project with a shot of 10CC floating on top of the shot glass.  House of Not travels the entire prog garden as they roll out their story; storming through the metal section, waltzing through the melodic section, and traversing ever so delicately through the classic section.  House of Not has created a hybrid of sorts, all the while tilling up their own acreage.  

And that, fellow progheads, is another chapter written in the search for all things prog.  House of Not was a bit of a departure this week...a break from the norm in that the band has a story to tell and is in the process of doing just that.  The ability to cross over so many sub-genres in the prog garden while painting a vivid, dramatic, and vibrant canvas makes the concept/odyssey all the more intriguing. Just one more reason to set up a comfortable chair under an umbrella and bask in the richness and beauty that abounds in the prog garden.

Carrying on the search for all things prog, the Concert Closet refuses to rest on its laurels, preferring to continue the journey...until next week...

No comments:

Post a Comment