North of Tomorrow is a Phoenix, Arizona prog collective made up of longtime musical collaborators Gary Adrian (bass/pedals/vocals/keyboards), Brian Mueller (guitars/keyboards/vocals/loops) and Stephen Rogers (sonic analyst) along with drummer Maurizio Antonini and several guests across 12 songs.
North of Tomorrow’s intention is to “present something different with each musical idea, without the confinement of one particular genre. The goal is to create music that yields something different with each repeated listen.” They list as influences a wide group of artists including Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Radiohead, King Crimson, The Who, Todd Rundgren, Weather Report, David Sylvian, Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes and Miles Davis. Mastering was by Bob Katz at Digital Domain in Orlando, Florida.
There’s twelve great tracks here that average over five minutes each so I’ll touch on my favorites. In general the vibe I got from these guys was similar to Steely Dan, whose main objective was to sound like a real, working band even though they used studio musicians and guests. The jazz-prog feel of some of these songs is similar to Steely Dan as well, though most are more experimental.
The opening track “Late Again” is the first of four to have an accompanying video. The rhythm track kicks in with an eerie, Twilight Zone vibe and the florescent colors onscreen vibrate along in perfect time. Once all the instruments have joined in, we have a very full, busy track where the sounds interlock so seamlessly it’s hard to tell what you’re hearing. The laconic, soulful lead vocals sound like a cross between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. The guest players are Kleber Sampaio (harmony vocals) and Joe Karakatsanis helming the sweet concluding guitar solo. The video is basically a montage of arguing couples where one of the partners is “late again.”
“The Pretenders’ Ball” makes a quick detour into reggae, and is another song with a video. Aside from another great beat, the guitars add to the percussive force by playing muted rhythmic notes. The choruses are singularly weird as they modulate to major chords but still with a lot of sepia shading. The mid-song guitar solo is by Leo Estalles while Sam Hunt provides harmony vocals. “Catbird Seat” is a more mellow, jazzy excursion with really nice chorus vocals (Brian Bringelson sings harmony) and some excellent guitar work by Theophile Flayvi plus wailing Yes-like keys by Nate Rendon.
“It’s Always Something” has an upbeat, walking rhythm (in fact there’s a cyborg walking in the video) with lots of emphasis on Damiano Della Torre’s percussive keys (like xylophone or marimba) and the “textures” by Phineas Brady. This time lead vocalist Gary Adrian sounds more like Phil Collins while Michael Kentish adds harmony vocals. The video is the most head-trippy yet, with bizarre graphics bathed in acidic colors. Definitely worth a look! Keyboardist Torre also takes a crazed solo with at least two layers of wild Moog-like improv. “The Boojum Tree” recalls the trippy melodies and rhythms or Material, with very cool wah wah trumpet by Patryk Rynkiewicz and uncredited ghostly background vocals.
“Little Things” starts with that distinctive amplified acoustic guitar sound. It’s a weird comparison but the guitars have the same sweet chiming sound you might find in Seals and Croft or Cat Stevens. The distant percussion (by Andrew Munger) has the feel of intricate watch works and the stereo mixing of the keyboards is quite striking. Kareen Vargas provides harmony. An amazing track! “Kentucky Burden” at first seems like the obligatory country rock tune, but the intricate lead guitar by Garrett Moshier and the spacey pedal steel by Hamilton Beck and Jack McLoughlin take us right back to classic North of Tomorrow territory. The final third even sounds a bit like Frank Zappa, partly thanks to the especially amazing drums by Maurizio Antonini. The a cappella ending is just the icing on the cake.
“Who Killed Love?” is a modern-sounding space-pop gem featuring an orchestral arrangement by Anuj Chandrasekharan along with trumpet (Patryk Rynkiewicz) and all-encompassing keys by Damiano Della Torre. It’s like a thick, unhurried block of sound created by a thousand different kinds of reverb. “The Whole World Stopped” is another space-funk jam featuring guitars by Andy Ridgeway and Jerry Benjamin. Lovely harmonies as always, this time by Luna Skopelja.
“This and That” is the last track and also our final video. This track is like the wildest Weather Report, the coolest Zappa and the most intense Pink Floyd mashed into one. This is the only track where Justin Mirack takes the drum seat, and also features the fearsome riffing of Kotzky Vendivel on guitar and the “textures” of Joao Moreira. As befits the music, the video is a series of pixilated, solarized images that make for a fine visual backdrop.
There’s so much here I’m still not sure exactly WHAT I’ve heard! But there’s enough to know you’ll find something within this album to enjoy and even elevate you. Beyond recommended!
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook