Fusion music is one strange beast. There are two radically different ends of the spectrum, where a fusion album can be absolutely amazing, or it can be absolutely horrible. The key to any successful album is to make sure that you tread a fine line between absolute wankery and pure musical proficiency to create something that’s both filled with emotions but also complex and different. The Pneumatic Transit, fronted by Jeff Zampillo formerly of Exotic Animal Petting Zoo fame, has been talking to me about making this album for years now. It’s been a dream and a passion for him, and it’s great to finally see it hit the light of day as a complete piece. The album has been out for a month now, and after multiple listens, it’s become clear that his new band has begun on a great path to being one of the better fusion bands out there.
The album starts with a cacophony of brass, guitars, and drums and then goes head first into the first few songs, which are all comprised of three things: odd time signatures, cool solos on various instruments, and a clear understanding of the fundamentals of songwriting. To be honest, to the seasoned music vet, bits and pieces of their material sounds like something The Mars Volta would do on one of their long jam sessions at their live shows. It speaks volumes of the talent that Jeff brought in on this record, because there’s tons of people on this, from cellists to a keyboardist and everything in between. It makes the record feel as though it was more a collaboration and exploration than a normal record if anything else.
But, is the music even worth listening to? Many people might get turned off by some of the pieces, particularly if you’re not into songs that use the same sections repeatedly with small variations. While what they’re doing is not necessarily prominent or even that intricate in terms of transitions, the band seems to treat each piece as if it’s a piece of classical music, with movements and different acts within each song that form a little mini story from track to track. The entire album is filled with songs that will constantly make you ears prick up and pay attention just when you begin to wander off. It’s definitely not background music by any means; in order to truly appreciate and enjoy this record, you must give it you full, undivided attention at all times.
Overall, the album begins to hit its true stride right towards the middle, particularly with some of the more atmospheric and ambient pieces that populate it such as “Benzedrine Cloud Burst” and “An Atlas of Oceanic Coves”, the latter of which is the best track on the record. While the cool fusion parts are just that, it’s really these atmospheric and building songs that stand out the most, and truly give you a real idea about the massive amount of talent that composes this record. In the future, should the band decide to pursue this avenue, they have a great chance to be extremely successful, not to say that this album isn’t a success already.
What we have here is a really cool glimpse into the future of fusion and progressive music, and so far the future looks bright. If the band can put as much effort, heart, and soul into al their following releases, there’s no telling just how far the band’s music can take them, from coast to coast and beyond.
The Pneumatic Transit – Concerto For Double Moon gets…