Lose Yourself in Chris Ianuzzi’s Maze LP
When Chris Ianuzzi, former keyboardist for Sluka, decides to focus his expansive, sprawling mind and give you 11 cuts’ worth of music, as he just did on the recent release of his new album Maze, it’s best to sit back, keep quiet, and listen very intently.
Anything else, and you just might miss something important.
The artist’s music ranges the full gamut of electro sounds on this project. There are some cuts that are pure instrumentals, others imbued with his distinctive style of vocals, and additional ones with what sounds like chopped up vocal samples.
Whichever approach he’s using, there’s a sophistication to his oeuvre that’s not easily come by, and evinced by other accomplished artists like Prince, for example. Ianuzzi’s material is that sonically tight, to the point where he can produce some spectacular impacts on your ears.
For example, the way he chooses to do vocals—half yelling, half slurring his speech, and halfway hanging out of melodies, if such a thing be possible—can easily overwhelm you with the firm coupling of multiple tracks and vocal effects. “Sweet Over Time” definitely gets this point across. It moves so rapidly with a surfeit of percussion that the singer’s voice is almost in the background—until he hits those notes that can throw you onto the floor.
The biggest treat, however, and evidence of his sonic mastery, is the drums. Doesn’t matter which cut you throw on, they pound heavily and are equalized to perfection: especially the snares. That’s where the Prince allusion comes from. Everything from “Hunger” to “Saturday Night Confession”, to “So Far So Near” demonstrates this quality with a corpulence on those snares that easily attracts listeners.
In fact, he’s so good at this aspect of his music he readily interchanges drum sounds and patterns so much so that, as is the case on “Confession”, he doesn’t go too far in one direction before he switches them up and goes in a different one.
Another standout on the album is, unsurprisingly, the synth work. Much of it sounds exactly like a robot speaking in one of the 3,000 languages C-3PO can translate—none of which are remotely human. “March of Madness” typifies this quality before segueing into an up tempo descent into the concept depicted in the title.
“Lonesome Highway Superstar”, however, could be the album’s best track. There are moments when the artist hits perfection with the drum sounds, drum pattern, and bass to put down a groove that almost anyone—with such a propensity—would rap over, which is just a small testament to Ianuzzi’s capability as a producer, artist, and even engineer.