Convolution Records Sampler 2005
various artists

by Jason Hoffman 2005
Convolution Records, located in the YWCA complex, specializes in serving the independent music fans and musicians of the area. In addition to hosting all-ages concerts and carrying a fine selection of local original music, they have branched out into a record label. One of their first offerings is a sampler, descriptively titled Convolution Records 2005 Sampler.

As on just about any various artists disc, the offerings are deep, wide and copious (18 tracks running 14 days - or 73 minutes), so let’s dig right in, eh? EDS kicks things off with “The Unheard,”, a fantastically moody instrumental of creepy synth and organic overtones. Roleo and EDS contribute “The R & The E,” the first of five hip-hop tracks, in which Roleo rhymez that soon everyone will know his name, atop interesting scratching from EDS. Both “Heavyweight” by Andromeda and “Rockfish” by Sankofa bear the influence of 70s R&B, the former with a smooth vocal delivery and a musical chorus, the latter burning with tasteful guitars and sultry horns. Harps and glissando bells run the course of “Wasted” by Sub-Surface, a song of frustration in not having enough time to write his rhymes because he’s sitting in a classroom and working to “stay clear of the hate,” while “No Sunshine” by Illastrate examines the plight of the urban male fighting “racist judges,” amid a bevy of deep beats.

“Circles,” by Castle Oldchair, takes a turn for the folk-pop with acoustic guitar, clear high vocals with tasty harmonies, and a sparse, catchy melody. Of a more anti-The Man stance is Blue Monday, with their protest-folk entry “Losing My Mind.” Here an abused acoustic guitar joins two strong female voices in a constantly defiant harmony as they sing that they are “sick of faking it.”

“The Resistance,” by The People Bomb, is based on classic primitive industrial songwriting with plenty of hazy, distorted vocals, both male and female, shouting over a mechanical frenzy of noise. While They Slept turn punk on its head in “Black Type Tarantella,” a slow-core punk song with scads of attitude and raw singing that develops some low, ominous piano in the bridge and closes in an enlightening, intricate instrumental passage that adds clean piano to the blistering guitars. Speaking of blistering guitars, how can one not like the Sabbath/stoner-like mono-melody riffs of “Man Behind the Rows” by Mantis? Its dark presence will fill you with dread while the amazing guitar sounds pummel you with delight.

Rock seems to be the order of the day for the rest of the tracks. “Virginia Creeper” by Miranda Sound is heavier modern rock with some very interesting British melodic touches from the guitar and an edgy Belew-like chord progression that seizes your attention. Heavy rock with the vocals artistically buried beneath energetic distortion makes “To Plunder,” by Saababanks, a keeper, while “Almost Died, Dead,” by Camp Climax for Girls, blends zooming guitars and shrieking male vocals with a wild, massively fun groove that contrasts the grim title. “Gas Electric,” by Coping Saw, is heavy on the reedy organ, adding an early 70s feel to the sprawling, improvisational ditty of angsty vocals sparring with the unnerving melody. Livin’ la gadda da vida, baby! The Botanists put forth a bit of emo in the form of “I Write Fiction,” where clean pop guitars and a slightly morose melody join the clever lyrics of “I don’t think I’ll ever write about you.”

In the “other” category are two amazing songs. “Fishbowl Prank,” by Everything, NOW!, is a bit of pop, rock, cabaret, left field and Supertramp, ending in a jubilant and peppy sing-along. It seems that just as soon as you start singing along everything changes, leaving you feeling conspicuously aware of your foolishness at trying to join this tribe of insane yet appealing ne’er-do-wells. Rustic Hungarian accordions, Violent Femmes singing and an ominous feel that builds to a frenzied ending all come together wonderfully in Calibretto’s “Misanthropy and the Full Moon,” a genuinely enjoyable outpatient excursion.

Convolution Records really has shown the breadth of talent in the tiny burg of Fort Wayne with something for just about everyone. Even the deaf will find something to their liking on Convolution Records 2005 Sampler, hopefully the first of many Available at their location in the YWCA complex or at www.convolutionrecords.com.

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