Ross Jenssen, our friendly resident three piece instrumental future-groove band has just released some highly anticipated new music. The release, a short three song EP is entitled Stories, and features a cool bit of art on the cover, from Berkshire native and longtime collaborator Sam Ban, depicting some sort of radio-equipped tome with wires, ports, buttons and a digital display, the art style somewhat reminiscent of Christy Karacas’ psychedelic bloodbath of a cartoon, “Superjail”.
The album opens with Chronicle, with an enticing bassline from Brian Ross, punctuated by cymbals and riffs from Scott McGarrity. The bassline slowly rises in speed until the speed becomes dizzying. Scott McGarrity begins playing a similar riff on the guitar for a few guitar, before the riff comes in on the Moog (a specialized synthesizer).
The song builds in intensity, tapering off into the bassline to be joined in by the guitar where it is altered and builds again, up and up and then down into a heavy distortion-filled breakdown accented by neo-classical riffs. The song stays heavy for a while before returning to its root riff with a rising electronic riff building tension into the background, eventually blowing the song open, heavy and laden with distortion and hard hitting drums, until it is brought to a close.
Following Chronicle is The Tall Tale, possibly my favorite song on the album (even though there are only three songs, it’s hard to pick a favorite). The song starts with a tense riff which builds, accented by the drums and then the bass with an interesting slap riff, before the song dissolves into a sort of liquid peace. The guitar playing is fluid with a lush melody coming from the Moog, over an impressive hi-hat pattern from Jules Jenssen with soothing bass licks from Brian Ross.
The song stays in that lush zone, building in intensity where Sam McGarrity takes the song off into a melodic and catchy guitar solo, bringing the song back to that lush peaceful place, but this time there is a slight air of anxiety coming from the Moog. The drums are filled with polyrhythms, very stop and go, sounding almost haphazard, really showing off Jules Jenssen’s chops as a drummer. Sam McGarrity takes us off on another journey and eventually bringing us to the end.
The album closes with The Myth, the song beginning with a dark and ominous bass riff, with the guitar coming in, dripping with distortion with the same riff, octaves higher, over the drums, playing the same rhythm, driving it into your bones and body. You can’t help but move and bop your head listening to this song.
The construction of this song is impressive, the breaks are placed perfectly to build just the slightest bit of anticipation before delivering another hefty riff. The song rises, building in intensity, reminiscent in some places of instrumental songs that you might hear on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1. However, this song is just too dirty for a Tony Hawk soundtrack. There’d be no way to actually play and focus on the game listening to this song. It’s pure Ross Jenssen. The musical prowess of this band is simply incredible. Sam McGarrity’s arpeggio’s would make Bach proud, Brian Ross’ basslines are pure filth, and Jules Jenssen begs the question, “Who the hell is Kenny Aronoff?” These are some of the best musicians in the county. Watch out for these guys.
Download the EP on bandcamp for free, or feel free to donate some cash to these guys to help fund their future endeavors.