(Article syndicated from GaianEye.com)
IndigoSun is a 4 piece jazz-funk-tronica 4 piece band out of Chicago comprised of Kyle Liss (Keys/Synth/Laptop), Lucas Ellman (Tenor Sax/Electronic Sax/Effects), Steve Florian (Drums), and Mike Cantella (Bass). They are in the midst of blasting off with their newest studio album – “Behind Closed Eyes” – which features Mike Rempel of Lotus on two tracks. The band has opened for Big Gigantic, Rubblebucket, Eliot Lipp, The Malah, Alex B, Family Groove Co and many others. They have performed at tons of venues and festivals throughout the region. One of my personal favorites being their renegade set in the woods at Summer Camp Music Festival. It was a great honor to have the chance of reviewing this newest album before it’s release and I hope you guys can enjoy it as much as I have.
The soothing slow jazz intro to this albums first track “The Radience Within” feels spacey at first, but works itself into a nice groove before too long. When Lucas Ellman’s saxophone comes in it gives real focus and direction to the track. After a build and release we are back into the groove with some funkier rhythms that once again highlight the sexy and soulful sound of Ellman’s sax. Perhaps it’s personal opinion, but every time I hear the wailing slow notes of a saxophone I immediately think of love and passion. ‘The Radiance Within’ certainly lives up to that expectation. The sound of the group as a whole is very minimal and calculated. They don’t seem to be out to over run the senses of the audience, but instead aim to build and release the tensions of their own sounds. Quite refreshing!
Building on “The Radience Within” are the next two tracks that include Mike Rempel of Lotus – “Ride the Wave” and “Beyond the Beyond”. To me it’s one thing to have a guest on an album, but it’s a completely different ball game when you add someone of Rempel’s caliber. It’s a pretty good sign that you’re doing something right! The first of these two songs “Ride the Wave” starts gentle with some funky keys from Kyle Liss that weave their way in and out of Rempel’s guitar and Ellman’s saxophone. Come the last third of the track after a great buildup, a zen-like trance is achieved with a gentle voice reminding us to “eliminate any anger or ill will” and guides us “to meditate on love and trust” as this will be the way through this “cosmic journey”. To me this is one of the defining ideas of the entire album, which I’ll come back to later. Rempel’s exquisite guitar guides us on nearly a minute adventure through the sound-scape the group has created and takes us into the next track of which he is also featured. “Beyond the Beyond” picks up the pace and gives us liftoff into the rest of the album. Liss and Ellman bring the track in with a call and answer while Steve Florian on drums keeps pushing the pace. Florian’s drums are probably most noticeable during this track than they have been for the first bit of this album and while the ambiance of the song, and album, holds true the drum beat really makes this an upbeat danceable track. The track ends nearly spinning the room out of control before spiraling down into “Float On”.
“Float On” along with its following two tracks are absolute musical monsters. Each clocking in at well over 10 minutes! I think it’s important now to come back to a point I mentioned briefly earlier, the zen-like atmosphere is felt again here in “Float On”. It calms the mind and body but does anything but make one sleepy or tired as some would envision when I say zen-like. Instead this track gives you focus, freeing your mind to catch onto every note and grow through the track. It’s a really beautiful composition that makes me feel as if too many words might actually take something away from. It’s just a journey you’re going to have to experience. In a dissimilar fashion to the beginning of the track the back half turns into an almost dark, march of sorts which gives me visions of a space battle. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this in an epic battle scene in a video game. A very tactful juxtaposition of sounds in this monster leads into the 20 minute “Behind Closed Eyes.”
Ellman’s soulful jazz is back once again soothing the pressure built up from the tail end of “Float On”. The transitioning on the entire album is evident here to be not only well thought out, but also tasteful. The upward growth is slower and less intense here than at other points, but builds into an ohm while nearing the middle of the track. A sudden drop leads to the sensation of a heart beat and slowly tunes itself to a higher vibration. It takes a while to achieve but the “Behind Closed Eyes” title of the track and album is fully realized here with psychedelic vocals that could space out even the most experienced of psychonauts. Once again reminded of the bands tasteful behavior we gently glide out into the spacial surroundings.
“Cosmic Queen” comes back from the musical abyss and lands back on solid ground. A smooth and jazzy intro lead into a heavy pure funk dance party at the 7 minute mark which continues through the majority of the rest of the track until the jazz beginnings cycle back to take us carefully and purposefully out of the track. The 18 minute track is the perfect closer to the album and wraps things up quite nicely leaving no loose ends.
As a whole the album is a benchmark for the bands sound and progress in the Midwest music scene. I can almost guarantee it won’t be long before these guys are touring in a much bigger way. I’d advise keeping an eye out for them at music festivals throughout the summer as well as staying up to date with their Facebook page and website.
The album is available for purchase through iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon mp3, as well as their Bootcamp page.