Deconstructing The Temporal Lobe review by Alex Brubaker

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  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 0 (0 votes)
Alex Brubaker: Deconstructing The Temporal Lobe

Sound — 9
With todays musical scope full of the same-old routines and repeated riffs, it is nice to get a break once in a while. "Deconstructing The Temporal Lobe", a first-release from post-percussive fingerstylist Alex Brubaker, gives the listener an experience only available from a very few others. Akin to sounds familiar to Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour and Justin King, the gratifying tones of percussive fingerstyle are rampant on this album. However, Alex Brubaker is constantly pushing the envelope with playing techniques generally heard with progressive and "new-age" musicians. By incorporating the use of electric guitars, slide work, and live looping (along with other post-rock techniques), Alex Brubaker is able to guide the genre into the coined post-percussive category. The album is named after the rebuilding necessary in the brain to listen to music. With the preconceived notion of what music currently is, everything from the Disney channel to MTV, a tearing down and reconstruction is the best way to start over. The temporal lobe is where music is perceived, and that is how it plays into the whole notion of rebuilding.

Lyrics — 10
Seeing as how this is an instrumental, it is difficult to discuss lyrical qualities, but rather possible to describe the bevy of emotions entwined into each track. The album starts with "Horse in the Clouds", where the employment of looping is brought right into the forefront. The song gives the listener that weightless feeling only associated with the clouds with the constant background rhythm to keep the song flowing with every note. Near the end, a break-of-pace is presented taking the song into a wild-ride of sounds, only to leave the horizon with a peaceful ending out of the muck. The second track, "Bea and the Rock Elephant", starts strong and quick-paced, as if a metaphorical chase has ensued. The song notes many climatic spots, each with a harmonic richness expected from a finely-tuned and precisely played instrument. "Scars", the third track again begins the listener with a feeling unlike the first two offerings. A surreal trance is subjected to the ears by a two-part melody played simultaneously with a captured tone so full that the artist must be in the room with you. This trance is only deepened with the addition of panning slide guitars to fill the sound spectrum. The fourth offering, "Awake for the Ride" is a subtle interlude for the album which is now nearing the half-way point. The song calms the nerves and heightens the senses for what is assuredly to come. The ending leaves the listener with a questioning, almost curious, feeling. "Ice Mountain", a song so tonally deep in texture, captures the reverberations of percussive fingerstyle to such a point that it is impossible to stop listening. The track has several deviations from a central theme, each as uniquely individual as the next. As the song is ending, a sense of conquering an unknown and grasping onto a dream is distinctly noticed. Remarkably, "Ice Mountain" is the shortest track on the album. Part 1 of a series, "Pleasant, Beautiful [Zero] - The Beginning" has a complex harmony and rhythm as expected from Alex Brubaker, save for the fact he makes it all seem so easy as the song shifts and winds down the tonal spectrum. The track has an uplifted, however tranquil, subjection with an ending leaving the listener longing for closure. Placed in between the instrumental series, "Waking from a Momentary Dream to Live a Nightmare" is a personal favorite. The track features the exclusive use of an electric guitar in its entirety. The mood is instantly set with the overtones of a summer afternoon rainstorm. Beginning with an intrinsic progression likely to only how a jovial child can witness such an occasion, the song becomes a more focused entity to the rain storm as it transforms into a thunder storm. Alex is able to recreate the quickened fear in a young childs mind with a perfect pick attack and hastened bends played with a rather bluesy feel. The song is set right as the childs fear dissipates and the previous jovial feel is returned. The sequel in the two-part series, "Pleasant, Beautiful {One} - A New Beginning, gives the listener a firmer grasp on what it is to love and cherish those around you, a perfect ending to the series. The track contains an interlude of differing taste, almost as to question the song's integrity, with which Alex answers with a renewed and heated passion. "Debris of a Brainstorm", the ninth track, contains segments of palm muting while working up the fretboard, with apparent looping similar to how one begins searching their mind. The track enters a portion of quick panning and heavy looping - ideas flooding from every crevice in the human imagination - until a conclusion is reached. A vision of the song is heard in the playing, with a sudden ending finishing the statement. The second to last track, as well as the longest track, "Phoenix", is the first installment of a distorted electric guitar overlaid on a solid acoustic rhythm. The sense of a post-Santana style is evident, with the guitar being as smooth as it is brash. The final track, "Alive", a dedication to Eric S. Kauffman, is a tribute of both heart and soul. "Alive" leaves the listener in a peaceful and collected state, a perfect conclusion to life and album.

Overall Impression — 9
The album does not compare to any known artist of the reviewer. He combines styles that can be heard from Andy McKee to Joe Satriani to Muse. My favorite songs off the album were "Waking From A Momentary Dream To Live A Nightmare", "Phoenix", and "Alive". The album is a curious introduction to a seemingly boring landscape of music offered in todays market. Alex isnt just another blues-trio, angsty punk rocker, or dropped-tuning riffing metal guitarist. The only problem with the album is the need to satisfy the appetite for similar music. If the album were somehow stolen from my, I would without-a-doubt purchase the album again.

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