New Hampshire-based composer, arranger, musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, Eric McGrath, mostly prefers creating music in the context of the sacred studio space, with exception of the occasional live gig.
Together with Zachary Zyla (engineering, bass, guitar), Joey LeClerc (saxophone, trumpet), Eric Guint & Alex Rindone (drums), McGrath (keys) has released his latest solo album, the delightfully nuanced, The Balance For Tranquility.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
The opening 3:49 of, Tranquility, has a psychedelic sci-fi feel. At that point, enter the album’s first sax solo which is accompanied by a slow and jazzy switch in tempo and mood. Though brass and electric strings are present, it is organs and synthesizers which abound in this—what is ultimately a 13-part keys-centric progressive-jazz free for all. At 12:13 we get carried-out by that sci-fi fusion sound. It’s a funky and enjoyable exit to a bravely unique piece.
Lyrically, we thoroughly enjoy Eric’s casual and light-hearted presentation of some—quite honestly—seriously heavy subject matter in consciousness. The contrast between meaning and presentation is what makes it all work…
“Arguments are a source of abstinence
Developing into rage and vendettas
Stemming from intolerance
Going on and on without conscience…”
“Motivated energy and effort
Wears down when they cannot find comfort
Actions without loving purpose
Preach destruction from diabolical conquest
Tragedies from unchained agendas
Strike through the hearts of the weary and selfless
Teachings of a misguided apprentice
Lead down the path to chaos and madness
Strives to see the light of day
In a constant search for a better way
To trust feelings of positive karma
Putting life in the hands of a higher power…”
Setting sail with a wickedly abstract bass-line and laser-style synth, Tranquility II, is immediately—and simultaneously—casual and urgent, wandering and poignant. At 2:30 that hint of sci-fi returns and the piece begins to feel strongly cinematic with the introduction of some distorted electric guitar.
As part two progresses, we alternate from straight jazz, to chill-jazz, and back to that sci-fi feel once more. With brass at its midpoint, it feels like these talented men have the ability to switch time signatures, melodic themes, and instrumentation as easily as changing the TV channel… never skipping a beat.
Our favorite segment comes with the slow and gooey break at 19:07, where spacey synth and piano keys work together to create a lively-yet-chilled-out minute.
Sparkling keys at 24:56 made us hit rewind as the track drifts toward resolution.
A jazz-matazz free-for-all of fusion sound. At once abstract and ordered, synthesized and acoustic, free-spirited and poignant. Eric McGrath’s fourth studio album, The Balance For Tranquility, takes a brave approach to musical presentation, switching-up the story every minute or so with little to no warning. As a listener, the stark contrast between each section creates a natural curiosity and wonder for the next segment’s direction. While this is primarily a synth & keys-based jazz record, creating the album’s colorful diversity is accomplished with much more. Electric guitars, saxophones, trumpets, and all manner of synthesized tones culminate in one hot & spicy gumbo of sound. Check out Eric McGrath’s fourth studio album, The Balance For Tranquility, below.
Vincent Anthony Guaraldi meets Buck Rogers…
BELOW: Listen to Eric McGrath’s album, The Balance For Tranquility, and connect with him online. Please support Eric McGrath by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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