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Tuesday Artist Spotlight: Consider the Source

[Photo credit – Kris Reznik]

“Progressive Sci-Fi Middle Eastern Fusion.” Reread that term and turn on your mental jukebox. How would you describe the music playing in your head? Well, it’s a trick question, because what on earth is “Middle Eastern Sci Fi Fusion” even supposed to sound like? New York City’s Consider the Source, the band who coined that term to describe their music, is the only group who can effectively answer this question. And that’s part of CTS’s allure: they’re an enigma, they’re one of a kind, and their music defies convention to such a degree that you really need to see them live in concert to understand what they’re all about.

Formed in 2004 by Gabriel Marin (fretless double-neck guitar), John Ferrara (bass), and the one-and-only Jeff Mann on drums / percussion, Consider the Source is the focus of this week’s artist spotlight. The trio’s instrumentation alone speaks volumes to the musical experience they’ve built for their fans. In my opinion, the guitar in its standard format with frets, one neck, and six strings is difficult enough to play. Now, get rid of the frets (which help guide your fingers to the correct note) and double your string count by adding an additional neck, and you have the incredibly esoteric instrument Gabriel has championed over the past couple decades. What’s more, Jeff Mann has performed on stage with some of the most intricate drum set-ups I’ve ever seen. When he describes himself as a “drums / percussion” player, there’s a heavy, heavy emphasis on the “percussion” part of his title. To get a feel for Jeff’s drumming abilities, check out this drum solo from Catskill Chill 2014.

On their website, the band hits the nail on the head with a comical, frighteningly accurate description of their music: “If intergalactic beings of pure energy, after initiation into an order of whirling dervishes, built some kind of pan-dimensional booty-shaking engine, powered by psychedelics and abstract math, it’d probably just sound like a CTS tribute band. Drawing from progressive rock, fusion and jazz, with alien sounds soaked in Indian and Middle Eastern styles, CTS blends disparate parts into a striking, utterly original whole.” In addition to pushing musical boundaries, Consider the Source is also well-known for translating the epic catalogue of England’s Radiohead into their unique, instrumental canon. At last summer’s Disc Jam Music Festival (happening June 8th – 11th this year, tickets), the trio performed an instrumental Radiohead tribute set at sunset that stuck with me all weekend. Here’s a video of CTS covering Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” in the studio.

If you’re already a CTS fan, or if their sonic enigma is starting to draw you in, you’re in luck. Consider the Source is slated to support TAUK with Space Bacon on Saturday, 4/22 at the renowned Irving Plaza. The last time Consider the Source performed in New York, they headlined a show at a venue almost as far-out as the band itself. In late February CTS and Ross Jenssen (<—performing 4/21 at Arlene’s Grocery, tickets) hosted a full-blown sensory experience at the one-and-only House of YES in Bushwick. The bands packed the house, so if that show is any indication of what to expect on 4/22 with TAUK, then we’re all in for an energetic celebration of instrumental music at Irving. Tickets are still on sale for TAUK w/ Consider the Source & Space Bacon at Irving Plaza, purchase them here while you can!


2 thoughts on “Tuesday Artist Spotlight: Consider the Source

  • April 18, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    I love seeing an introduction to the band start with a video of Mann’s drum solo. What a great set up! It is odd that there is so much mention of Indian and Middle-Eastern music without saying “Balkan” or a few dozen other musical styles. But ultimately the point is made that you have to see CTS live, and they have their own style, which is good.

    It should be noted that both the top (fretless) and bottom (fretted) necks of Marin’s guitar are augmented by an array of effects from MIDI, distortion, looping, etc. And that John Ferrara is one of the most dedicated bass players touring today who is currently setting a new standard for polyrhythmic tapping. And yes Mann is an excellent drummer!

    • April 18, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments, I’m going to go back and revise some sections and include that info about Gabriel’s guitar, as well as a information about Ferrera!

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