Transcendence — Indulging In Diversity
Originally published in the Badger Herald on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 University of Wisconsin, MADTOWN BABY!
by Laura Stanelle
With just a quick walk through any basic CD store, one can clearly see how set on categorization todayâ€™s music world really is. Quick to put every artist and album into a specific category, whether it be rap, punk, classical, worldly or rock, the music business is preoccupied with classification and individual groupsâ€™ obligation to cater to the business. With their third album, Nothing is Cohesive, the â€œunclassifiableâ€ band Transcendence breaks barriers put in place by the category-obsessed world of music, presenting an artistically driven album that embraces a variety of music styles and genres.
Made up of prominent musicians in both the New York and Miami music scenes, Transcendence is â€ â€¦ a group of five hyperactive, obsessive and insane guys with severe cases of ADD and an extreme passion for music, all running around trying to make sense of everything they are listening to, and each wanting to create their own personal artistic statements â€¦ ,â€ according to Ed Hale, the bandâ€™s lead singer. With the added talent of guitarist Fernando Perdomo, bassist Roger Houdaille, pianist Jon Rose and drummers Bill Sommer and Ben Belin, the band has produced a total of three albums, with Nothing is Cohesive, released last October, delivering the best blend of various genres.
Despite the albumâ€™s title, with Nothing is Cohesive, Transcendence presents a solid collection of songs unified by the consistent alterna-rock thread running through the album. The 13-track CD embodies the styles of everything from seventies glam rock to international sounds to a more classic, modern rock form. â€œFusing such styles as Brazilian, r&b, rock, new wave and classical â€” among others â€” Transcendence creates a wild array of songs but somehow holds them together with a left-field bite.â€
With a sound completely different from the bandâ€™s second album, Sleep with You, Transcendenceâ€™s latest CD release is raw and impassioned. Recorded in a soundproofed garage studio, Nothing is Cohesive presents a balance of upbeat and catchy songs and slower, more heartfelt ballads, all produced through mixing traditional musical equipment with new computer technology.
The best song on the album by far is â€œTomorrow,â€ a unique variation of an old Paul McCartney song. With a seventies style, female backups, fun beat and a dramatic, almost show-tune, ending, â€œTomorrowâ€ adequately works to prove the bandâ€™s willingness to stretch themselves as musicians.
Also standing out on the album is â€œAll This is Beginning to Feel Like an Ending.â€ With its emotionally charged lyrics and strong guitar lines, the song presents an honest and sad view of a failing relationship. â€œWhen both of us are down / Trying to paint the town / Alone / Waking up everyday alone / Trying to gauge your tone / By your messages on the phone.â€ In true Transcendence style, the heartfelt ballad is juxtaposed by the following track, â€œRevolution in Me.â€ The most modern sounding song included on the album, â€œRevolution in Meâ€ delivers charged vocals and a steady, prominent beat. The vast contrast between the songs on Nothing is Cohesive serves to exemplify the unique nature and talent of the band as a whole.
With â€œstyles to fit all who listen,â€ Transcendence takes the inspiration of the Beatles, U2, Radiohead, Beck and David Bowie and combines it with the bandâ€™s own unique styles. Going from mellow to energized and back again, Nothing is Cohesive exhibits chameleon-like qualities. With confident vocals, inviting guitar, piano and drum lines and honest lyrics, Transcendence prompts listeners to indulge themselves in the musical and lyrical richness that defines the bandâ€™s latest album endeavor.