Ben Levin Group, Invisible Paradise, 2012
Site regulars will perhaps remember I thought the previous Ben Levin Group CD was a total blast and truly progressive in many aspects. About a year later the band have released the follow up. As Ben puts it:
“Multi-instrumentalist Ben Levin has a wide range of influences, among them Sufjan Stevens, Steve Vai, Dmitri Shostakovich, The Dear Hunter and Portishead. So it’s no surprise that his ever-evolving musical canvas is dotted with flavours of those acts. The album is a 38-minute piece of music divided into seven movements about change and the dichotomy between joy and sorrow, with everything about the piece constantly changing. The music jumps and jolts between soaring guitar and violin harmonies, rhythmic piano textures, hip-hop backbeats, lush choral vocals–and even the production style gradually morphs throughout the piece.”
So the question is: how does this CD stand up to last year´s highlight? Well I must confess, I am again very much impressed. Again largely instrumental, and again so full of great ideas, melodies and musicianship, one can only listen awestruck. The sound might be more mainstream, but this only enhances the feel the musicians transcend. The guitar playing is of course stellar, and the violin plays an important role as well. So that Kansas reference is never that far away, although in reality these bands are incomparable.
Save to assume that if you liked this band before, you will like them now. And if you are into quality music, are not afraid to experiment and enjoy dynamic arrangements, this will be straight up your alley. Wonderful!