NOVUS CANTUS – EP Review: “2018 Fall EP”

Novus Cantus

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.

Connect with Novus Cantus:  Website / Facebook / Twitter
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  cdbaby / Reverbnation / iTunes

NOVUS CANTUS – Single Review: “In the City”

Novus Cantus

As EclecticMusicLover, I like to feature many different kinds of music on this blog. With that in mind, I’m pleased to review the wonderful new single “In the City” by Novus Cantus, a unique band from Poughkeepsie, New York who look and sound like they could be from Spain or Greece. 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 innovative, melodically beautiful songs draw 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 Metallica and Alice in Chains. They’ve recorded a number of superb tracks over the past few years, and I strongly encourage my readers to check them out on your favorite streaming service, some of which I’ve listed at the end of this review.

“In the City” is a beautiful, 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 the city they sing about is New York, but the lyrics could really apply to any large city anywhere in the world.

In the City, on the sidewalk
An urban scene does play
People motioning toward the crosswalk
By the redwood made by man
Apartment windows reveal the fallacy
Of rich and poor living in harmony
Unaware of their great inequality
Existing in homogeneity

I’ve roamed among the barren forests
Of the streets of urban nothing
And yet, life does seem to flourish in the city
The habitat of humanity.

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.

I’ve roamed among the barren forests
Of the streets of urban nothing
And yet, life does seem to flourish in the city
The habitat of humanity.

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 fiery passion and drama of the city and the people in it.  In addition to Greg’s bass, the guys employ other instruments like flute and Maracas to add dimension to the track. Alexander’s fervent vocals have an exotic quality that, combined with the instrumentals, gives the song a dynamic, international vibe. It’s brilliant!

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.

Connect with Novus Cantus:  Website / Facebook / Twitter
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase:  iTunes

CARBONWORKS – Video Premier: “End of the World Suite Part 3: The End”

CarbonWorks is not your typical band. It’s more a collective of talented session musicians, headed by its creator and guitarist Neal Barnard – who also happens to be a world-renowned medical doctor. Based in Washington, D.C., the band’s music is a unique fusion of rock, contemporary classical, jazz, blues and avant-garde, giving their sound an uncommon breadth and depth. With delicate melodies over driving rhythms, blues overlying classical strings, and frequent use of non-English lyrics, their songs defy categorization. As Neal Barnard explains, their unconventional time meters “tilt the song ever so slightly and give you that little jolt between the ears.

CarbonWorks2

The band released their extraordinary debut self-titled album CarbonWorks in December 2016 to rave reviews, and have been periodically releasing a new video for one of the album tracks.  In May 2017, I premiered the video for their gorgeous track “Monaco,” and am now delighted to premier their new videos for “End of the World Suite Part 3: The End” as well as “End of the World Suite Part 4: Winged Victory.” As indicated by their titles, the beautiful tracks are the completion of an ambitious four-part suite.

“Part 1: The Beginning of the End” is a mix of contemporary classical and rock, while “Part 2: Love and Illusion” combines classical, folk and jazz elements. For “Part 3: The End,” progressive jazz is the predominant element. The generous use of strings, including violin, cello and bass, combined with the gorgeous jazzy saxophone, guitar and drums, result in a truly stunning track. Barnard describes the track thusly: “Part 3 (“The End”) launches with cool bebop bass played by Jeff Reed. Russell jumps in on sax, with Mike on drums and me on guitar. Then the strings come in bringing a baroque element that somehow works with the driving jazz.” Although it’s six minutes long, it’s so wonderful that it seems over far too soon.

The suite ends with “Part 4: Winged Victory,” a brief but lovely track with a complex mix of classical and rock overtones, and features the dan tranh, a traditional Vietnamese instrument that’s similar to a Japanese koto. It also features sublime vocals sung in Latin by Italian singer Naif Herin, who ends with the words ” Beati pauperes spiritu, Beati pacifici,” which translated means “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the peacemakers.”

Both videos show the band performing the songs, which I always enjoy seeing.

Connect with CarbonWorks:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on  Soundcloud / Pandora / Apple Music
Purchase on  iTunes / Amazon

Video Premier: CARBONWORKS – “Monaco”

CarbonWorks is not your typical band. It’s more a collective of talented session musicians really, headed by its creator and guitarist Neal Barnard – who also happens to be a world-renowned medical doctor. Based in Washington, D.C., the band’s music is a unique fusion of rock, contemporary classical, jazz, blues and avant-garde, giving their sound an uncommon breadth and depth. With delicate melodies over driving rhythms, blues overlying classical strings, and frequent use of non-English lyrics, their songs defy categorization. Regarding the band name, in an interview with the website All Access Music, Barnard explained: “Well, ‘The Beatles’ and ‘The Rolling Stones’ were already taken. And at the base of it all, we are carbon, and these are our works.

The band released their debut self-titled album CarbonWorks in December 2016 to rave reviews, and have been releasing a new video of one of the album tracks every month or so. Their latest is a stunning video for the equally stunning instrumental track “Monaco.”

Musically, the electrifying song features Barnard playing a Steinberger guitar, an unusual instrument with no head and almost no body, built from a single piece of graphite/carbon fiber. It has a whammy bar which allows him to make the siren-like descending sounds on the track. Also featured on the track is the dan tranh, a traditional Vietnamese instrument that’s similar to a Japanese koto, played by Chau Nguyen. It sits on a stand like a piano and is played sort of like a harp. The other musicians playing on this track include Allegra Havens on violin, Jeff Phelps on cello, Shea Roebuck on bass and Mike Stetina on drums.

Barnard stated he was inspired to write the song while in the Monaco train station, “when over the loudspeaker came a little four-note chime to announce a message about upcoming trains. And those four notes got stuck in my brain and eventually became a song. You’ll hear Chau play them.”

The music video was actually filmed in the beautiful principality of Monaco. Barnard is shown starting on a run before dawn, then the camera films scenes of what he would observe from his own eyes as he runs the course of the Monaco Grand Prix. The video goes back and forth between footage of the race track and scenes of the band performing the song. At the end of his run, he collapses in front of the Chapel of Sainte-Devote—the hazardous corner where many Formula One cars have crashed or spun out.

To learn more about CarbonWorks, check out their website.

Connect with them:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram
Stream their music:  YouTube /  Spotify /  Soundcloud
Purchase:  iTunes /  Amazon