“STOLEN MOMENTS” BALANCES GARAGE PRIMITIVISM & SMART ROCK CRAFT!

 

 

2017 marks Rick Shaffer’s eighth solo album, “Stolen Moments”, which was inspired by the concept that there are no guarantees or promises in life.  Throughout his career, Shaffer has turned over every possible stone, and he’s decimated them all into a thousand pieces. He helped jump start punk rock, merged seamlessly into garage rock and found success with The Reds©, a band he co-founded, he has since found his way to solo punk and garage rock releases among other projects. That all makes his new record an incredibly hard act to follow. What else is there left to conquer? The proto-garage raver to end all garage ravers, that’s what!

Rick Shaffer’s art balances garage primitivism and smart rock craft, which will frequently draw avant-gardists and casual listeners alike, to his unique rock n’ roll fervor. Combining jagged, roaring guitars and fast-slow dynamics with raw melodic vocals, intertwining harmonics, and evocative, lyrics, Shaffer is an accomplished musicians who is not afraid to wail and bash out chords while his lead guitar squeals out spirals of beautiful noise.

The music’s shrieking power will cover every emotional and intellectual territory inside your cluttered brain, as “Stolen Moments” pushes the envelope, redefines, and ultimately sets fire to the foundations of everything currently found under the rock tag and all its sub-genres.

It is of course, abrasive in parts, but it is not inaccessible to even mainstream radio. I could easily imagine tracks such as Downtown Suzy”, Modern Lie, Time Strays and Call My Name blaring from my radio. It may take some time to get past the squalls of raw power, but once you do, it is easy to see that this actually is a very melodic album. The guitars wail and scream and Shaffer uses his instrument like few others do today. A great full-length from one of the smartest, ingenuous artists foraging within the genre, in my humble opinion.

No theatrics, no sense of hip or cool. Just the basics. The performances themselves are delivered in variable doses of bone crushing, elegance, beauty, raw, power, and color. The great thing about Rick Shaffer is that he is an artist that does everything so right. The vocals are fierce and emotive, Teddy Rixon’s bass like loud, delicate thunder, Stevie Carlisle’s drums smart, inventive, and solidly anchored.

And then there is Shaffer’s guitar, bearing the responsibility of bringing all those twisted, sonic sounds right into your stereo. Of course, there are the songs that exult those qualities, among them: All I Want, One In Five, Higher, Chopping Wood and Danger Awaits. Rick Shaffer is for real, and “Stolen Moments” is an immense creative process transformed into musical form, one that is impossible to ignore.

                                                                                       

Bruce Cohen’s “Four BC”. . . .”gives nods to shows like Twin Peaks and Stranger Things.”

Kicking off with opening track ‘Haus’, Bruce Cohen’s latest release Four BC hits out hard with a fierce beat that grabs the attention immediately.  Without much hesitation, we are sent headfirst into a dizzying spiral of woozy ambient samples and an intoxicating melody made up of swirling glacial notes.  There’s a slight tone of dread sitting beneath it all, while Cohen’s production keeps things wide and airy at the same time.  His music builds gradually, adding various new elements to the mix as it progresses, constantly growing and holding the attention.

The underlying darker tones are maintained as we are led into ‘Luna’, with its sparse atmospheric pads that heave and groan under their own weight, giving a nod towards the soundtracks of shows like Twin Peaks and Stranger Things.  Those earlier glacial notes return, adding contrast and atmosphere, with a sense of space that really pulls the listener in.  As it develops, it becomes all embracing, reaching out and wrapping the listener into its own carefully constructed world of sonic mystery. Where are we being taken?  Will we make it out alive?  This is when the confident beat of ‘Lost’ kicks in, and we now find ourselves in an utterly alien landscape.  Tones fly back and forth like an extraterrestrial language, trying to communicate but we are here without a translator.

Once you have made it a few tracks in to Four BCyou’ll begin to feel at home.  It’s like being transported to another world but it’s not scary or overwhelming.  Rather, it is entirely welcoming, where the listener is invited to relax and engage on whatever level they might feel able.  It’s not the kind of ambient music where you can totally check out and let it wash over you – although it could quite easily serve that purpose – because there is so much going on that it really demands close attention and inspection.  Sounds shift and change, never staying still but constantly evolving and reforming into new throbs and washes.

Whenever there has been a moment where things feel like they are really winding down (‘Rise’), suddenly we are headlong into a new sequence which takes us in a whole other direction (‘Seen’).  In many ways Four BC is like being invited to a huge mansion and given the freedom to wander around to investigate its many rooms.  As you begin to do so, you realize that every room is totally different with new things to discover.  And further still, you begin to realize that each room has something in common with all the others.  There is a plan here, Cohen has very carefully constructed a sequence of spaces that are totally consistent yet always offering something new.  As a result, the album sits somewhere between chilled out ambient and cerebral EDM, making it the kind of record that can be listened to in a range of settings and for different listening purposes. It’s relaxed, but won’t send you to sleep.  It’s engaging, but won’t exhaust you either.

• Chris Marsh • CrossRadar 

 

                          

 

New Music From Around The World Reviews Bruce Cohen’s “Four BC”

I spent the weekend listening to a new album from Bruce Cohen. It’s rare to come across a musician that has such a deep vision for music and can captivate the sound around you. This new album is going to transport you out of your ordinary day-to-day mentality and take you to place in your mind has been waiting for you to visit. A place where you can let your imagination run wild and break free from the repetition of life.

Right off the press of the play button, you’re greeted by the uplifting rhythms of the premier track, “HAUS.”  This track will get you in the groove and set the mood for album. It is so important for the first track to set the mood of the album and this track has all the right ingredients for a lead-off track. You’ll find depth in the music that reaches far beyond the capabilities of your stereo system. Four BC is an instrumental journey through the vast untraveled landscape of your mind. Each track takes you soaring across a soundscape that has layers of intricacy rooted deep in rhythm. Once the music starts, your ears will be treated like royalty and bathed in the sonic aura of modern music.

It’s not everyday that I come across music that captivates me in such a way that I listen to it on repeat. This album has lasting power and will find a permanent spot in many playlists and music libraries. Fans of Ian Pooley, Broadcast, Moby, BT, and Brian Eno will find this album to be a new juggernaut in their music collection. The undertones of EDM mixed in with the dance rhythms will be a perfect fit for any social gathering. Music that can fill a room and not take over the conversation is like a diamond in the rough. Adorn yourself with the sound of Bruce Cohen and get your mind, body, and soul in motion with his new album, Four BC.

∎ David Hughes — New Music From Around The World Blog

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JamSphere Review: “Bruce Cohen’s Four BC is ambient music that favors abstraction and improvisation.”

JamsSphereBruce Cohen is a founding member of the Philadelphia band, The Reds®, who’s first self-titled produced by David Kershenbaum, showed the band’s impressive blend of Rick Shaffer’s guitar, and Bruce Cohen’s keyboards.  The album was supported with live appearances with such diverse acts as The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image.  Cohen’s solo projects include musical scores for theatrical productions and his electronic album series “One BC”, “Two BC,” “Three BC,” and now the latest 2017 album – “Four BC.”

The liner explains that on this recording, Bruce Cohen returned to his ‘ambient electronic roots, with the slightly added twist of totally improvising every song to fit a self-imposed four minute time frame, with little to no overdubs, and no edits whatsoever.’

Douglas Rushkoff notes in his book that “ambient music isn’t a set of particular sounds one listens to but a space in which one breathes.”  In “Four BC” the layers and washes of sound and music can be focused on or ignored, lazily mind-surfed or instead analyzed.

Never a trite “sound collage”, a problem which plagues so many in this genre, this album has moods, textures and rhythms that lend well to repeat listening.  So you can dig deep or soar to the shore with this exceptional work.

Come equipped with a truly open mind because “Four BC” is easy to dismiss without one.  As improvised music, it shouldn’t be surprising that one needs to experiment in finding the appropriate setting and circumstances for realizing its potential.

It may be as simple as using headphones in darkness; for others, it may need to be experienced in nature during a particular time of year.  But the genius is in there waiting for you.  If you can’t be bothered to put in the effort, then listen anyway as you’ll still find plenty to enjoy in terms of rhythms and sounds. It just more accurate listening is so much more rewarding.

I am a devout listener of ambient/electronic music, and when I played through “Four BC” for the first time, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, because I was so used to the mundane commercial tracks of mainstream artists.  I became instantly attuned to the vibrant, melodic vibrations and flowing wave-forms, and ethereal pings that instilled the vastness of space that was all beautifully, subtly and tastefully filled.

Frequencies are substituted for real soundscaping, as the tracks here, are evocative and extremely pleasant to listen to.  This is music that favors abstraction and improvisation, yet everything sounds well-planned out and accessible enough to hold your attention.

On the album “Four BC,” Bruce Cohen offers us more than mere sonic manipulation.  He looks beyond synth manuals and realizes music that is an inextricable weave of sound engineering, solitary reflection and ambient aesthetics.  Consider the album’s tracks as various degrees of emotion, lingering, and then shifting to another state.  For me, the musical subtlety of “Four BC” is in the impression left, rather than the story told.

∎ Rick Jamm — JamSphere MAGAZINE

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Tarock Music Releases Bruce Cohen’s “FOUR BC” Album

fourbc_artworkTarock Music has released Bruce Cohen’s 2017 album.

On FOUR BC Cohen returns to his ambient electronic roots, with the slightly added twist of totally improvising every song to fit a self imposed four minute time frame, with little to no overdubs, and no edits whatsoever.

Listen/Buy/ Full Tracks HERE

Download a FREE mp3 of “Seen” on SoundCloud

ALBUM LINER NOTES

 

RockWired Voters Name Rick Shaffer November ARTIST OF THE MONTH

rockwiredartist-ofthemonthThe polls closed for RockWired’s November 2016 ARTIST OF THE MONTH campaign. Voters made their vote count and Rick Shaffer is RockWired’s 72nd ARTIST OF THE MONTH.

Back in 2011, guitarist Rick Shaffer perked our ears at RockWired with the release of his solo album “HIDDEN CHARMS” and it’s reliance on the very fuzzy, distorted guitar sounds that made Link Wray legendary, the swagger that made The Stones the big deal that they’ve been for fifty some odd years, and Shaffer’s purring vocals that recall Stooges-era Iggy Pop, and Velvet Underground-era Lou Reed. Trust us when we say that no charms were hidden on that album. It was all audible and the perfect antidote to much of the over-production that had come to typify a lot of rock music that year.

Hell, over-production still typifies much of the rock n roll that’s out there now and thank God for Shaffer’s album “OUTSIDE OF TIME.” Shaffer’s gritty rock ‘n roll approach is put to good use on material that speaks to life’s highs and lows (mostly lows) such as the stomping first single “Going Down Slow” accompanied by a mesmerizing music video.

∎October 31, 2016 — Brian Lush — RockWired.com

WATCH THE VIDEO ► http://www.tarockmusic.com/going_down_slow_video/

 

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“Going Down Slow” Gets Music Blogged

musicbloggedRick Shaffer is an artist with a truly distinctive approach to his vision and sound. This talented musician cleverly combines alternative music and country rock in order to create songs that hit the spot emotionally and technically.

The songs on Rick’s recently released album Outside Of Time demonstrate high quality musicianship and timeless song-writing wits, reminding me of the sound of seminal influencers including the likes of Neil Young, The Cramps or The Blasters, just to mention but a few.

The album’s lead single “Going Down Slow” does a great job of driving the album with a set of stunning rhythms and melodies. The song effortlessly goes between blues, rock and country. The aesthetics of the song have a truly 60s flavor, but the arrangement and the production value have a punch that is all modern and up-to-speed with the needs and want of today’s audience.

Rick is a charismatic performer whose style is refreshingly direct, iconic and versatile. Behind its thought-provoking enigmatic title, this album hides a refreshingly down-to-earth approach that goes back to the roots of Rick’s passion.

Ben Corke – Music Blogged

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