Apell – Beaver Street & Beyond (CD)

Electronically charged jazz, Anthony Pell (Apell to eir’s fans) provides listeners with a rich instrumental backdrop, creating the best experience one can have listening to music. This is not necessarily the music that gets the body moving, but is rather like an illicit drug, opening one’s mind to a myriad of new sensations. While instrumental CDs are notorious for becoming monotonous and extremely repetitive after the first few tracks, Apell busts through four tracks with the greatest of ease, and is incidentally the perfect soundtrack replacement for the acid jazz of the Weather Channel (really, I’m not being derogatory – just the smooth, inoffensive tones of Apell are bizarrely fitting). The more middle eastern flow of “Summer”, gradually spinning out of control through the inclusion of hip-hop styled drums, is a welcome change of pace from the rest of the disc, and keeps eir’s listeners on their toes.

It is very seldom that completely computer-arranged drums sound decent on a disc; Apell has made the drum tracks on “Beaver Street & Beyond” so intentionally fake, so otherworldly and with such a fervor that one can’t help but be enthralled by the arrangements. “Unorthodox” is literally one of the most solidly named tracks in recent history – thrust on by a backwards-masked track, the only thing orthodox about this track are the smooth, incredibly-arranged drum and synth tracks. Throughout the entirety of the disc, vocals do come into play but Apell has a much more insidious use for them – very rarely will an individual find a vocal track that Apell isn’t actively using as a make-shift instrument.

Where something like Fluke can be the drugs of electronic music, Apell actually can program and arrange with the best of them and yet make a cohesive album that does not repeat itself. While I could completely see putting this album on before studying or sleeping, there really is not much to grab the interest of someone that has been inculcated to the bells and whistles of popular music. Apell may be trying for commercial success, but where Apell will make eir’s killing will be at the jazz places and minor concert halls the world over, where individuals will hook into ey’s music and be more actively supporting eir. Apell is a mixture of all the things that are strong in electronic, jazz, and tribal music – where more electronic artists seem to just be incorporating dance or rock into their track, methinks it wouldn’t hurt to listen to “Beaver Street & Beyond” a few times.

Top Tracks: Summer, Lust

Rating : 7.0/10

Apell – Beaver Street & Beyond / 2004 Self-Released / 13 Songs / http://www.apellmusic.com / Reviewed 08 August 2004

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