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(47:06, Metal Mind Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Outdated 6:08 2. Me 2.0 4:48 3. Unbirthday 7:41 4. Stay Foolish 5:48 5. Don't Look Back 3:40 6. Homesick 6:20 7. Critical Error 6:21 8. Something New 6:20 SOLO PILOT: Rafal Zak – vocals; all instruments
Prolusion. ORDINARY BRAINWASH is the creative vehicle of Polish composer and multi-instrumentalist Rafal Zak. He made his debut back in 2009 with the CD "Disorder in My Head", and already the following year his second production "Labeled out Loud" hit the shelves. "ME 2.0" is his third full length album, and was released by the Polish label Metal Mind in the spring of 2012.
Analysis. The last few years I've been increasingly intrigued by the efforts of the different one-man band's out there. Some of them have a lone creator who caters for most aspects of their material, with a few guests brought in on select occasions, while others are purebred creations of a single person. Ordinary Brainwash belongs to the latter category. And it is an impressive production when you know that this basically is a DIY effort from a single person, as the music comes across as a band effort, which speaks volumes about an artist either good at showcasing his strengths and covering up his weaknesses or someone who is if not a master then at least a Jack of all trades as far as instrumental performance and music creation go. In terms of style we're dealing with an artist residing on the borderline between art rock and progressive metal. His basic approach is to blend calm or relatively sparingly constructed arrangements with sequences of either harder edged music or majestic, multilayered themes, occasionally blending the various aspects of each stated extreme of course. Piano motifs are common throughout, and I wouldn't at all be surprised if the majority of these compositions have been worked out at the tangents. Another element utilized extensively is fluctuating keyboard and synth motifs, adding a futuristic sheen to the proceedings. Digital strings are used sparingly and to good effect throughout, while the guitar supplies wandering light toned motifs, echoing reverberating ones with more of a psychedelic orientation as well has darker toned riffs that tend to be majestic and massive in expression. Steady and occasionally gently wandering drum patterns are the last of the major instrument parts. Quite a few additional details and variations are utilized, of course: both in the gentler as well as the harder hitting parts of the compositions, but the main ones should give a basic insight as to the style of this one-man band. The final main ingredient worth mentioning are the vocals, which are laid back in style, to the point of being detached, and like the music itself, with an overall introspective feel about them. The end result is music that is both pleasant and engaging, the contrasting themes and high degree of variation in instrument expressions creating a distinct mood and atmosphere. Not an innovative one as such however, as the similarities to the US band OSI are as difficult to avoid as the ones to the UK darlings Porcupine Tree. In style and expression this one-man band resides somewhere in between those, arguably closer to the former than the latter. It is a very well made take on their breed of art rock however, and of a general high quality throughout. Stay Foolish is the sole exception as far as I'm concerned, as some choices in the arrangements of this piece just didn't come across as logical to my mind.
Conclusion. Synths, keyboards and guitars are utilized effectively to craft themes frail and gentle as well as dark, massive and majestic on this most recent effort by Ordinary Brainwash, in a manner and with an expression that should find favor amongst fans of bands like OSI and Porcupine Tree first and foremost. "ME 2.0" is a well made and well performed album, and warrants an inspection by those who tend to like music of this kind.
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