Electronica composer and performer Svoy takes his ambient sound and style to the limit by subjecting himself to the musical critic of The Inept Owl.
There is no braver person.
New York-based musician Svoy has a story that is all too familiar. Born in a small Russian town, he trained with the greatest talents his country had to offer, then moved to America to further pursue his dreams. Think of Baryshnikov or what probably happened with Ivan Drago after the end of Rocky IV. Except in this case, Svoy changed fields from jazz piano to electronica, so imagine Baryshnikov joining the cast of Stomp or Drago signing up for American Gladiator.
Of course, you’re not likely to find Svoy in your local Best Buy CD section; as an indie artist, he has taken the entirely unprecedented step of creating his own website and using Myspace as a means of spreading his music to the masses. Yes, I know. You’re shocked. Just bear with me.
However, when you prepare yourself to listen to his album “Ecletric,” don’t envision some haze-filled techno club with pounding beats and zoned-out club kids rolling on ecstasy. When you listen to this album, what you’re going to think is “Hey, who did a club remix of a Backstreet Boys album?”
Actually, that’s not as awful as it sounds. (Or at least, I assume not… I still refuse to listen to any boy-band album, so my comparison is largely hypothetical.) The vocals are decent enough–and not as high-pitched as Justin Timberlake, so you don’t have to worry about shattering glass when you listen. The beats are up-tempo, but you won’t need to smoke meth to keep up with them. And there is some good piano woven into the music, so the jazz piano training is still lurking in there somewhere. Nothing makes a parent madder than seeing a scholarship going to waste, so his time spent at Berklee wasn’t in vain. (No, that’s not a typo. Berklee, in Boston. Not the patchouli-smelling campus out in California.)
Lyrically, there’s some standard love-lost stories… which is probably a requirement, since he’s listed as “emo/alternative/electronica” on Myspace, and anybody who’s emo has to bemoan a lost love or two. (However, there are no songs about being a cutter and he doesn’t appear to have a bad haircut, so “emo” may be a loose definition.) And there are some driving/traffic metaphors, which seem appropriate with the New York base; all he sees is one big traffic jam, day after day.
Song you should pay $1 for on iTunes, rather than downloading for free: Driving Away. It’s an odd combination of upbeat, almost frantic music and somber, borderline-emo sentiments in the lyrics. You won’t know whether you’re coming or going, but one way or another it will fit your mood regardless of how you’re feeling. And if you’re bipolar, it’ll hit both sides at once.
Rating: 3.5 members of a boy band.
What you have here, fundamentally, is an album that will work equally well for gearing yourself up during your drive to work, filling the required 8 hours in the office, or sniffling yourself to sleep after a long day of filling out TPS reports.