Conceptualistic Departure - s/t
(self-released 2002)

From Aural Innovations #20 (July 2002)

Here's an interesting listening experience for you. Conceptualistic Departure is the brainchild of San Diego resident Mike Joseph, who may or may not be the entire "band". As the CD begins I found myself smack dab in the middle of traffic amidst urban chaos. Police cars flying by sirens blaring, planes flying overhead, impatient drivers laying on their horns. What is this? Good question. And describing it is difficult, but it's an intriguing ride that doesn't let up for a moment as most of the untitled tracks transition continuously from one to the next.

The music begins with a pulsating drone and strumming acoustic guitar. The level of the drone is such that under headphones my head was being aggressively massaged, though the combination of the drone, guitars, percussion, and the sound of waves hitting a beach have a somewhat smooth jazz feel. But soon the drums take over and start to get kick the pace up to tribal levels. There's a lot happening here and I detect lots of old time Krautrock influences and strong elements of ambient psychedelic jazz. There's loads of funky trip fusion and the heavy percussion along with the bass creates a cool groove that is perfect for the street conversations that often accompany the music. An interesting combination of rock, jazz and space ambience.

One track that grabbed me consists of quirky rock that brings to mind Neu! or Kraftwerk on the dance floor. The rhythm section holds the whole thing together as a parade of freaky space effects and voices intermittently weave their way through the proceedings. Things get seriously aggressive at times but all too briefly. I would have like to hear those bits developed more. Another series of tracks I enjoyed begin as a floating acoustic song with a melodic ambient and perhaps slightly psychedelic feel. Then the bass takes over and gets mucho funky and we find ourselves in space jazzy groove land again. To maybe give you a reference point I'll say that the psychedelic jazz flavor of the music reminds me at times of Mushroom, the Bay area band who have mastered the art of jazz-in-space. The closing track is one of my favorites, being a space electronic excursion that recalls Klaus Schulze and Ash Ra Tempel, but includes bits of noise and drones.

In summary, Conceptualistic Departure play some fairly intoxicating and groove inducing jazzy space rock and ambient psychedelia. I'm struggling for descriptive terms, though in this mag that's means a big thumbs up for the artists who challenge us. There's nothing particularly complex or mind-blowing here... and it does have its slow moments and uneven transitions... but what we do have is a creative set of grooves, sounds and samples that will provide you with an enjoyable hour of listening, and has enough layers of fun and effects to reward you with new discoveries during subsequent listens.

For more information you can visit the Conceptualistic Departure web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Mike Joseph; 10848 Rueda Ct; San Diego, CA 92124.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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