The Cruelest Animal has been a work in progress for Drummer / Guitarist / Producer Alex Crane since 2009. The band started as a recording project featuring guest performances by members of Intronaut, National Sunday Law, and The Great Wall. The music is inspired by a wide variety of styles including classic prog rock groups like King Crimson and Pink Floyd, as well as Trip Hop acts like Massive Attack, Dj Shadow, and Radiohead. Aspects of technical and spacey influences are blended into a sound rooted in early 90s metal.
The album Soothing Rays of Eternity represents a leap forward creatively. With the addition of Matt Boylan on bass (former Bear Baiting and Cuneiform), and use of Ableton Live looping software, what was once a recording project has developed into a live two-piece band.
The album is structured abnormal rhythmic cycles and features drums and bass as primary elements. The rhythm section is accentuated by heavy, yet spacey guitars, keyboards, and vocals. The song Unleash the Swine features David Timnick of Intronaut on Tablas, and Derek Donley of Bereft and National Sunday Law on Vocals.
Soothing Rays of Eternity was self recorded and mixed in our rehearsal space in 2016 and was released via Bandcamp on April 21, 2017.
Alex Crane: Drums, Guitar, Vocals, MIDI programming, Recording, and Mixing
Matt Boylan: Bass and Vocals
Grant Lewis: Keyboards
Derek Donley: Vocals on tracks 2 and 4
David Timnick: Tablas on track 4
William Paton: Vocals on tracks 5, 6, and 7 (We'll miss you, buddy)
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.