Andrew Ruoti Embarks on an Odyssey on Forthcoming EP

By Deuce

It’s not quite clear just what, exactly, it means that some of the most compelling tracks on Andrew Ruoti’s forthcoming EP Odyssey (slated for a July 15th release) lack drums, rhythm, and percussion altogether in this age of the good ol’ four-on-the-floor drum monotony, but it’s a testament to his musicianship that he’s able to pull this off well.

Moreover, it also testifies to some of the creativity on display on this project. Three of the cuts, or over 60 percent of the tunes, follow this format. Instead of beats, they rely on the steady, albeit undulating, effects of protracted synths or, in the case of the opening number “State of the World”, what appears to be just one long synth.

Granted, it’s coupled with a bass in there, but it maintains a consistent pace while somebody (likely the artist) evokes cries in the distance on a tune already fraught with tension. Plus, Ruoti (who’s helped out by Uly Millan on the lead, bass, and keyboard) gets a full dose of staccato, synthesized strings in eighths that reinforces the track’s overall feel and appeal.

Other numbers are much more straightforward—to a certain extent. “Special Day” opens up with the most delightful of keyboard melodies over some truly moving acoustic guitars, which are Ruoti’s instrument of choice. It’s on this number that the singer unveils the full scope of his vocals, going from what’s not quite a whisper style, yet over-annunciated, perhaps, to compensate for it, to full on wailing at other points. With Gregg Sulzer flipping through patterns on the live drums, things get mighty unrestrained at times—which is apparently what the trio was going for.

Sulzer truly stakes his claim on “Deconstruct”, which is his second and final appearance on the collection. Not surprisingly, he turns in a performance worth remembering by dominating the transitions, truly rocking out on the hook, and otherwise making a play for most cogent performance on the track.

It’s hard to top the surfeit of acoustic guitars on this one. Unfortunately, the bass line that Millan’s put together at the beginning of the song doesn’t get enough play on the cut, funky as it is. Nonetheless, it just goes to show that Ruoti’s covered the whole spectrum of music on just five songs with this effort, going from the staid and suggestive to the brash and overt.

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