This past May, I featured the band Novus Cantus on this blog when I reviewed their beautiful song “In the City.” A unique act from Poughkeepsie, New York – who look and sound like they should be from a Mediterranean country – Novus Cantus (Latin for “new music”) is a collaboration of brothers Alexander (vocals and guitar), and Christian Herasimtschuk (drums and percussion), with assistance by Greg Hayden on bass. Their exotic, captivating sound draws from an eclectic mix of influences such as traditional ethnic music like flamenco and Hungarian folk, classical Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, and rock, particularly that of Jethro Tull, but also Gipsy Kings and even Metallica. They’ve been performing and recording together since 2010, and I encourage my readers to check them out on your favorite streaming service, some of which I’ve listed at the end of this review.
They’ve just released a new EP simply titled 2018 Fall EP, a collection of four songs including “In the City.” “Journey” kicks things off with the lush sounds of Alex’s strummed guitar and dreamy flute notes that give a feeling of being in a mist-filled South American rain forest. The track then settles into a captivating soundscape of Spanish guitar and fluttering flute as Christian bangs out the beat on his conga and bongo drums. Alex’s deep, rich vocals are sublime as he sings of his uncertainty as to which road to take on his life journey: “Why do I hesitate, why do I wait? The earth is here. How will I know? I want to know.”
The aptly-titled “Storm” opens with the sound of falling rain, then our ears are greeted with sonic lightning bolts in the form of Alex’s energetic Spanish flamenco-inspired guitar riffs and Christian’s furious banging of his conga and bongos, while Greg keeps things grounded with his bass. Alex’s fervent vocals match the fiery passion of the music, and I could listen to this electrifying and bewitching song go on for an hour!
“In the City” is an enchanting, optimistic song celebrating the dichotomies and drama of the city, and the diversity and resilience of it’s residents that allows them to flourish despite the odds. I’m guessing their lyrics extol the virtues of New York, but they could really apply to any large city anywhere in the world. “In the city, on the sidewalk, a lengthy story unfolds.
As trees came down, buildings were born, the perfect angles of chiseled stone. The wilderness has long since been gone but the spirit remains in the form of people willing to transform City life into a vital storm.”
The song opens with sounds of a rushing subway train, then Alexander’s gorgeous and intricate Spanish guitar washes over us, accompanied by Christian’s robust beating of his conga and bongo drums, evoking the spirit and drama of the city and its people. In addition to Greg’s bass, the guys employ other instruments like flute and Maracas to add texture and dimension to the track. Alexander’s vocals have an exotic quality that, combined with the instrumentals, gives the song an international feel.
“Everlasting” is yet another gorgeous track, and Alex never fails to dazzle with his skillful, intricate guitar work. The song has a slower, more relaxed Latin-inspired tempo than the other tracks, but retains the intensely passionate feels Novus Cantus injects into all of their music. Christian employs gentler, crisper percussion on this track, and the brothers’ vocal harmonies are marvelous. I love all four songs on 2018 Fall EP, and adore these guys, who are as gracious and kind as they are talented.
Novus Cantus is completely fan-supported, meaning they’re not beholden to a label, so please consider supporting them by following them on social media and purchasing their music. The more fans they have, the more they can compete for gigs in your area. Also consider donating to their music efforts via their Patreon site.