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Aaron Brooks - 2018 - "Homunculus"

(47:49; Gentle Art of Music)


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TRACK LIST:   
               
1. Consume 4:00
2. Youíre Just a Picture in a Frame 2:48
3. Wake Up the Mountain 3:54
4. Everybody Dies 3:17
5. Lies 5:38
6. Jesus 4:14
7. By Your Halo or the Fork of Your Tongue 3:04
8. Nobody Knows What Itís Like to Be Someone Else 4:21
9. The Idiot 5:24
10. Bodega, Bodega 3:00
11. Iím Afraid 2:53
12. What Is a Man but an Animalís End 1:59
13. Digital 3:17

LINEUP:

Aaron Brooks - vocals, guitars
Beni Wiedemann - piano, keyboards
Max Huber - drums
Stefan Rossinger - guitars
Joachim Schwarz - bass
Susi Salomon - violin
Sandra Rieger - violin
Isabel Schlegel - cello
with:
Kalle Wallner - guitars, bass
Yogi Lang - keyboards
Hansi Enzensperger - keyboards
Peter Savee - banjo
Karl Muskini - trombone

Prolusion. Germany based artist Aaron Brooks was a key member of the psychedelic progressive rock band Simeon Soul Charger, a band that started out in the US and relocated to Germany. The band disbanded in 2016, after which Brooks started a solo career. "Homunculus" is his only solo album and dates back to 2018, when it was released through German label Gentle Art of Music.

Analysis. While Brooks was a member of a band that explored the boundaries of psychedelic rock and progressive rock, Brooks as a solo artist has opted to alter the direction of the landscapes he explores ever so slightly. The progressive rock elements have been toned down quite a bit, the excursions into the psychedelic landscapes have also been lessened in intensity and frequency, and both of these alterations have left a vacant space that has been taken up by a few varieties of Americana. We still get a few songs with a more progressive touch to them here, and even one where a case could be argued for the song having tendencies towards avant sensibilities too, but more clear cut excursions into psychedelic landscapes are a bit more prominent. 60's style psychedelic pop and rock alternates with garage rock as the orientations of choice in this department, occasionally blending elements from both of these traditions, and occasionally adding a bit of an Americana undercurrent to the proceedings. The Americana elements are probably the most dominant aspect of this production. These songs have more of an acoustic core, occasionally with string instruments adding a bit more of an art-oriented escapade, but otherwise with the piano, the acoustic guitar and the vocals as the dominant elements and occasionally with a gentle lap steel sounding presence too. In orientation ranging from gentler singer/songwriter modes through to songs with a stronger emphasis on what I'd refer to as a storyteller tradition and also over to the kind of songs that wouldn't have been out of place on an album by, say, The Everly Brothers. Just about the only exception to be found here in terms of the music explored is the song 'Bodega, Bodega', a composition that for me appears to consist of elements from a wider array of folk music traditions. While I wasn't able to pinpoint the references when listening through there was a solid sensation of having heard material of a similar scope earlier and on many occasions, but at the time of writing I'm unable to pinpoint this exactly. But among the associations I got that don't quite fit I noted down klezmer, gypsy jazz and ragtime. This is a well made album by a musician that appears to have a passionate interest in many different traditions and styles of music, and with a love and affection for Americana in particular. With material that in sound and orientation range from more traditional folk music and arguably a little bit of jazz through to the more naive aspects of 60's psychedelic pop, the darker and grubbier aspects of garage rock and bands such as The Doors and The Cramps and over to the gentler pastures of singer/songwriter Americana, with a couple of detours into progressive rock landscapes to boot, this is an album that cover a lot of ground and ventures out into many different directions.

Conclusion. While the more dedicated progressive rock fan will only get a limited amount of music that will be of interest here, those with a more widespread and eclectic taste in music will find a lot to enjoy on this production. A certain affection for Americana, singer/songwriter material and psychedelic pop and rock will be required to get the most out of this album experience, and for those whose taste in music is that widespread "Homunculus" will probably be regarded as quite the little gem of a production.

Progmessor: February 2023
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Aaron Brooks Gentle Art of Music


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