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Amherst Drive – For Freedom And Democracy

HUGE thanks to Derek Kortepeter for sharing his new Amherst Drive EP, For Freedom And Democracy, with us here at the KMA!

As you know, we have covered Derek’s excellent work before:

Stochastic
Static Rush
an interview
Cataclysm

 

Straight from the Amherst Drive bandcamp page for the EP, here’s Derek’s write-up:

This is the debut EP by Amherst Drive. It explores various social, personal, and political themes. It all covers things that consume me the most, so it is a very personal album. I hope my message is clear and that you are able to give it your time. I’ll be forever grateful. 

-Derek

***

Right! And now for the tracks:

Rise! starts off with a series of pull-quotes from political speeches over a bed of piano carnival-like music. Raunchy punk guitars and rapid-fire drumbeats wipe that away as we’re off to the races, baby! If ever there was an awesome call to action, here you go. There’s anger, righteousness, and pure energy in this track, all at 100 mph, complete with speed wobble in places. There’s pure urgency to get this all down before it’s too late. There’s an awesome guitar solo wailing away here too, and when it all crashes to a close, you know you’ve been woken up. “Take them down!” indeed!

Mental Case is pure Black Flag-feeling, I loved it. That disaffection, that confusion, the seeking for answers, everything slightly off-kilter and more real than anyone claiming they have it together.Yes! Another great guitar solo over the punk chords, too. As he screams “I’m a mental case” repeatedly as the song ends, the yearning is real.

Disorder takes us close to 80s fringe rock pop, with arpegiating guitar and chugging bass notes that resolve into ear-catching instrumental sections. There’s an echo to the whole affair, opening everything up and making the lyrics of waiting, longing, wondering. Again things are that wee bit off center, a recurring sense so far in these tracks and it’s the perfect thing that serves the music well. The ending raises the bar and shouts us out into the urge to play this one again!

Run Away’s pounding drums intro washes away another political quote, as the guitar knifes its way over top and the pace double-times. Lyrically, things are slipping away now, the urge to get away and start over before it’s too late is closing out this Ep. Is that the solution? We’re left to decide as the guitars wind down.

In Sum: 

Short, sharp and brilliant, this EP covers some big themes in tight, economical tracks. There’s a directness to the attack, to the lyrics, to the urges and the needs in it all. As he said in his blurb on Bandcamp, this is a very personal effort for Derek, but the things covered here are, I’d wager, felt by all of us at one time or another.

Again, huge thanks to Derek for sharing this excellent effort. I recommend it to you all!

GET YOURSELF A COPY NOW!

More info (from bandcamp):

released January 27, 2018 
All songs produced by Derek Kortepeter. 
Vocals and instrumentals by Derek Kortepeter. 
All songs (except ‘Disorder’) written by Derek Kortepeter 

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Derek Kortepeter – Stochastic

The Preamble:

Every once in a while, we like to request submissions of original music to the KMA. If you’ve made a track, an album, whatever, send it to us and we’ll review it! It works out well for all of us – we get to hear new music, and you get your music heard, and a page link you can send to your friends and use for promotion! Win win win!

The other day, I learned that Mike’s friend Derek has made an album. Did I wanna hear it? Absolutely YES! It arrived here in the KMA offices and I was ready to give ‘er!

There’s a web page that explains the thinking behind the record. I did not read any of it BEFORE playing the album – I wanted a pure listening experience. But I did go and read the whole thing AFTER hearing the record! And it explained a lot. Very well done. I recommend you all go read it!

I will also link you to Mike’s review of this instrumental record. He nailed a lot of what I wanted to say right on the head.

The Review:

Veritas starts with some scratching and becomes a beautiful guitar exploration. Burning Embers adds drums and a second guitar line and lets us drift away on the rock. I love how heavy the bottom end was recorded, here. Illusion is futuristic, and on first listen I thought the drums were just off, but on second play I knew it’s better that way – keeping things off center occasionally says a lot.

Solitary is strong and clear, which deceptively sounds like it has no plan but I know it totally does. Fusion is a brilliant, jazzy track that I loved a lot! Perspective is short, and gentle. I’d call this an intermission.

Glitch is electronic melded with guitar. It plays like a meditation on the evils of technology. Solar Wind is a metal freak-out, distorted and hell yeah! Disconsolancy glimpse 1 plays like another intermission, a short, classical jazzy piano piece. That leads into an eastern-sounding piano noodle called Heliosphere, and building off that is Light Within, a track boasting Eddie Van Halen guitar tone, a jam session that’s bloody brilliant.

Disconsolancy glimpse 2 brings us a lovely classical, strings piece, while Fragmented Sky is another distorted guitar rock out jam that builds out of a rain storm. Yes! Wow, this is a highlight track! At 3:30 it’s almost like explosions, and then lift off! And finally, Omega layers echoey guitar over synths, then around 2:15 the synths disappear and the guitar fades us out.

In Sum:

Wow. My brief descriptions here do not do this record justice. They may, in fact, be a disservice. Listening to this is to run the gamut of emotions and styles. There’s a logic to the song sequence, a lot of thought gone into every moment. It’s really great for time spent in personal exploration – just listen and respond to the songs. And you WILL!

I did notice that it sounded great in the car stereo, and then when I played it at home in the good headphones, it’s recorded so loudly in the bottom end that it distorted a bit more. And that made it even better!

Well done, Derek!! This was great. Thanks so much for sharing this with me. I will be playing this again. And again!

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