Chimp Spanner

All Roads Lead Here

01. Dark Age Of Technology
02. Engrams
03. Mobius Pt I
04. Mobius Pt II
05. Mobius Pt III
06. Cloud City

[02/06/12]
[Basick Records]

Ah Chimp Spanner. Not just another one-man bedroom project, the past couple of years has seen the enterprise morph into something more. Ere the lapse of the festive season helmsman Paul Ortiz was capping off a fantastic year of live performances with his live band (consisting of the shred-tastic Jim Hughes, the ever-cool Adam Swann of Monuments, and the eternally entertaining Boris le Gal), touring with the likes of the legendary Cynic along with Hypno5e, and having also spent time with the likes of Uneven Structure, TesseracT, Aliases (twice) and Cyclamen. Whatever next?

Oh, a new six-track EP you say? Well, marvellous!

Given the uncouth types that Chimp Spanner hangs around with, you’d be forgiven for automatically pigeon-holing him as part of the ‘djent’ movement and moving on – but you’d be oh so very wrong. Sure, his label Basick Records may be particularly in tune with the current trend, and his past of cavorting in seven-string forums with the likes of Acle Kahney of TesseracT and Misha Mansoor of Periphery may inform his work, but like these forerunners and trend-setters of the modern wave, CS’s music is the like of which is copied; not that which copies.

Something I’ve always loved about Paul’s music is how textured it is, and building upon his last album At The Dream’s Edge, All Roads Lead Here continues this admirable trait. The multiple layers of ingredients apart would run the risk of sounding boring, but Chimpy refuses to constrict himself to one sound or technique. Sure, those djenty tones are evident, and there are sections where the guitars in the background will chug along amiably…but it’s the combination of ingredients and the vision. Guitar leads spiral over the top, advancing the rhythm and at the same time providing some delicious hooks to latch on to, all running with the sci-fi sounds of keys and synths that he hath made his trademark – and it’s this that also sets him apart from a lot of other instrumentalists. People will attribute various genres to Chimp Spanner – djent, prog,  but the undeniably dominant one is science fiction. Hell, even the final track has is a super-geeky Star Wars reference.

Despite being only six tracks long, most of the familiar spacey range of his earlier work is explored. Missing only is a ‘Harvey Wallbanger‘-esque thundering hard-hitter, but if I’m honest I have to be in the right mood for that, and so the tonal cohesion of ARLH is even better in my eyes.

Not all of Harvey‘s gusto is lost though; much of the dynamic drumming that drove that track is in full evidence, leading the fray at times and adding some power when the excellent riffing drops to the aft. Opener ‘Dark Age Of Technology‘ in particular thrums darkly into being before its initial strike sets the cadence of the record – all systems to awesome. This EP is chock full of effluent vitality, but also displays a glut of techniques, skills, and most importantly range. From the sketchy foreboding ‘Engrams‘ to the weedly meedly solos of three-parter ‘Mobius‘, there is interest enough here for even the most instrumentally wary to find.

With a title like All Roads Lead Here it may be construed that this is the pinnacle of Chimp Spanner’s craft, but I do not think that is the case. I hope he continues to hone his sound, and that he continues his impressive adventures on the road, which like this EP I cannot recommend enough.

Chimp Spanner – All Roads Lead Here gets:

4.5/5

– CG