M-lab | From Baser Elements

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United States - NY - New York City

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Rock: Progressive Rock Rock: Rock opera Moods: Featuring Piano
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From Baser Elements

by M-lab

Piano and violin based dramatic rock.
Genre: Rock: Progressive Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Cityscape
3:00 $0.99
2. All the Same
5:19 $0.99
3. Angelina
4:42 $0.99
4. Lover, Lay Your Lies On Me
6:16 $0.99
5. Tompkins Square
3:46 $0.99
6. Free Now (Instr)
2:05 $0.99
7. Free Now
5:28 $0.99
8. Last Train
4:44 $0.99
9. Better Company
4:05 $0.99
10. Talking to Myself
5:20 $0.99
11. Water's Edge
3:59 $0.99
12. To Be There
4:08 $0.99
13. Begin Again
4:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
From Baser Elements is composed of 13 highly distinct tracks--there are no throw-aways or afterthoughts here--all of which bear the unmistakable M-LAB stamp of Rock Drama. Choosing piano and violin over typical rock guitars, the five members weave an intricately composed musical fabric, evoking the rich textures of Peter Gabriel, the pathos of Tori Amos, combined with the grandeur of Queen. This record is challenging yet exerts a gravity that is all but irresistible.

Review by Jason Warburg, from Daily Vault:

In an era when music has been bastardized into so many micro-genres that nearly every new band traces back to an obvious musical niche, precursor, or dominating influence, it's refreshing to say that I've never heard anything quite like M-Lab before. In fusing together elements of progressive rock, piano-based pop and Broadway theatricality, this unique quintet has created a sound all its own.

This New York-based group's originality stems in part from the unique building blocks of its sound -- acoustic and electric piano (Derek Gregor), acoustic and electric violin (Skye Steele), bass guitar (Twon), drums (Mike White) and vocals (Drew Brody, with harmonies from Twon). How these pieces fit together changes from song to song on From Baser Elements, or even from minute to minute. The first 60 seconds of "Free Now" sound like a chamber quartet, the second like the quiet section from a Broadway score, and the remainder like a slow-building, somewhat operatic rock ballad with keening violin accents.

In places the piano-playing captures a kind of Freddy Mercury-esque sense of pomp and grandeur, but is more typically flowing and lyrical. You can find hints of Coldplay in the supple melodies of tracks like "Talking To Myself," but more typical are the Kansas-meets-Andrew Lloyd Webber stylings of "Cityscape." The one song that has kind of a pop feel is hidden at the end of the disc -- "To Be There" sounds vaguely Dennis De Young/Styx-ish on the choruses, though its verses and instrumental passages are much quieter than that implies.

The songs tend to be somewhat free-form narratives, full of gently observational moments like "Your favorite time of day is right before sundown / The golden hour when we change and shower / And welcome the night" (from the softly rocking "Tompkins Square"), not to mention "And when you walk out the door / I'll have what I came here for" (from ironic closer "Begin Again").

Overall, From Baser Elements showcases a band finding its way with a new and unique sound. Not all of these songs connected with me, but none of them failed to merit my attention, either. There's an intensity here that simply cannot be denied; all evidence suggests that M-Lab is most impressive in a live setting. If you're in the greater New York area, you might want to check them out via their Web site at www.m-labmusic.com.

Review by Andy Fisher, from 1340 Mag:

M Lab is a truly unique band. To give you an idea of the sound, imagine being drug to the opera (gasp) and somewhere between the boring music and the inevitable fat woman you notice something brewing about offstage. You see five guys wheeling in equipment. A violin, massive sets of keyboards, drums, bass, and so on. You know something strange is going on. These five guys start playing along with the otherwise boring classical stuff and lo and behold, it sounds good. The product of this strange pairing is M Lab. With each of these five guys comes an impressive list of musical recognition and they somehow decided to make a new genre of rock opera music. It's unique and fun, but not without haunting sections, and heavy bass all jumbled together with motley, thoughtful lyrics.

M Lab is Drew Brody-vocals, Derek Gregor-piano/keyboards, Skye Steele- violin (acoustic and 5-string electric), Twon-bass, and Mike White-pecussion. Each member of this eclectic arrangement has something unique to offer. Whetehr it is Skye's impressive jazz violin awards, Mike's symphony/opera background, Twon's big band history or some other aspect of one of these guys lives. Somehow though, they have managed a beautifully blended, neither classic nor modern, fast nor slow, rock nor opera sound that is refreshing and haunting. The success of this band (in my opinion) is their marketing. This is not generic pop music or cookie-cutter emo. Anyone with an open approach to music should check them out and I look for great things from these guys.



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Fresh, intelligent songwriting from immensely talented musicians.
If you're looking for fresh, intelligent songwriting and musical prowess in the same vein as Bernard Butler and Travis, then look no further. This is for you.