You don’t need to understand the title to enjoy Ete’s –x+v, a balanced collection of five soft rock songs that prove that minimalism can work extremely well in a musical sense, and great things can be accomplished when a collection of powerful instruments are allowed to work with, rather than against (or in spite of), each other.
A few of the songs have a great deal of energy. “Anniversary X” starts off with impressively strong vocals and well-meaning lyrics, exploding into an almost electronic rock section. The addition of violin lifts the song as the chants of ‘it’s over now’ sends it soaring. The following song “Birds” sounds like pure flight, with twinkling notes that dance from ear to ear, seeming to surround the more grounded vocals and lyrics. The drums play an important part too, while higher, softer vocals add just the right touch of fantasy to the song.
“Complete Control” borrows some of the 80’s pop technique, with heavily auto-tuned vocals at the beginning and more emphasis on the lower notes of the scale. The epitome of creative involvement on this album, more liberties are taken with the notes and the benefit of doing this shows. Each instrument seems to shine for only seconds at a time, changing focus seamlessly with each new sound introduced. The end result is a thoroughly cohesive yet often changing song.
The two final songs on the album are quieter and considerably more toned down than the first three. “Conversation Between Father + Son” is a simplistic song, starting out with more emphasis placed on the lyrical content than any other instrument. A spoken sample halfway through begins to introduce the instruments back to the song, leading to a more energetic chorus and a fantastic piano solo that closes it out. Album closer “Lost at Sea” takes further advantage of the minimalistic approach to music, choosing subtle sound progressions over a blinding wall of sound. Every part works incredibly well together to create the perfect tone; no one instrument drowns out the other.
One might get the sense that this offering is far too short, as you are left wanting more – luckily, this is the first of a three part series, so there is plenty more to come. This thoroughly engrossing effort is likely to bring a great deal of fans to Ete, particularly from people who enjoy music that firmly grasps the fundamentals of theory but isn’t afraid to expand and break barriers to create whole new sounds and harmonies.
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