Pittsburgh’s David Bernabo is a jack of many musical trades and if his recent full length project Assembly (which is an incredibly fitting title for a record that succeeds largely on the strength of Bernabo’s ability to fuse like and unlike sounds) gives accurate indication, a master of many. Unlike other artists pursuing an aesthetic that allows for dramatic swings in mood, tempo and texture, Bernabo is willing not only to give listeners a mere taste of his multitude of ideas but fleshes each out to achieve a proper length and effect. At times, with his mix of folk, rock, ambient and freeform jazz influences, Bernabo approximates a sound that suggests Beck or Ben Kweller attempting an experimental folk record; it is probably unfair to compare Bernabo with these artists as the project allows him to display a style all his own. Album highlights include opener “Englishness” which combines a rambling folk feel with ambient and atmospheric tones as well as “Asatru Free Folk Assembly” which exhibits both minimalistic and conventional characteristics. By album’s end, the constant shifting and segmenting can become a bit tiresome and this is certainly not a project for those who like their music to be easily classifiable. Yet, Assembly reveals Bernabo as an exciting talent likely to provide moments of musical bliss in the future.
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// Notes from the Road
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