There are honestly few musicians who have blown my hair back as much as the guys in Kung Fu. It's just not a common occurrence to have a band with five musicians that ALL make you stop and go, "HOLY SHIT" numerous times on an album. Ever see them live? Holy mind blowing, Batman. Each individual musician is incredibly accomplished in their individual art to a degree that makes you wonder how you got to this point in life not really knowing that particular instrument could make sounds like that. This is certainly the case with Kung Fu bassist Chris DeAngelis. If you take a listen to the Joyride album, there are numerous occasions particularly the solo on Vroom, where you have to really stop and appreciate what a player can create - and how hard it can jostle the soul.
But, Chris DeAngelis is more than just the bass player for Kung Fu. He also lends his talents to Jazz is Phish and The Breakfast. His style is well know and well respected. His playing is as complex and inventive as his writing and he is truly not only a master of his craft, but a leader in the scene. I don't know anyone I would rank above his talents. I had no idea that I could be any further impressed - then a week or so ago he posted his work with LoEndFreque.
I do a lot of driving in my work life so I get a lot of time to play music, devour it, think on it, take it apart and put it back together again. This comes in handy when writing about it as I have time to think on it. Yes, I'm a little snobby with the sounds that really get their hooks into me, but I think as peaceful as we all are, we all have a bit of that in us. That being said, this record hit me like a ton of bricks and that doesn't happen too often. It knocked me off my pedestal. It really reminded me that sometimes there are just no limits and when that is the case, fly as high as you fucking can. This record blew my mind. It was a game changer for me. Ok, maybe that is not really the right way to put it because this album has sounds that kick me back to places I used to go a lot. This record was a reminder of stuff that used to move me so hard that I just forgot I loved.
The album kicks open with the song Perfect Chance. This is the song that really sent me reeling and wanting to write about it. I am such a vocal whore and I have to say I haven't gotten to indulge that love too often lately. Not that the vocals on stuff I have reviewed are at all bad. Quite the contrary. But what DeAngelis is doing with LoEndFreque is insanely impressive especially considering it's just him. He has orchestrated brilliant harmonies on this track that dig right into your soul. He has a tone on this song vocally that I know is familiar but I can't quite place. I keep trying. It's got this soaring vibe that makes you want to close your eyes and just feel the hell out of it. It takes you somewhere else entirely, if you let it.
Move along to the track Thrills and you are treated to some really gorgeous guitar and more vocals to blow your mind. The way the song changes, stops, and starts makes for a really emotional ride that I really dig. This is a song that would honestly be at home on any alt rock radio station in America. I don't think people really know how much they would love the heck out of this. Chris is also really strong lyrically. I also really dig the song Mary's Misery which has a funky as hell bass line right out of the gates and a really strong groove. The vocals are something completely different here and feel energized and powerful. It's a song that makes you move.
My other favorite is probably Bottom Feeder. This track is determined and pulls it's power from so many places. It's got such a modern alt feel but still flirts with an almost light industrial undertone with its pulsing groove. Then it hits with this crazy rocking guitar solo three quarters of the way through that just knocks me on my ass every time. The vocals again are just incredible in placement and mix. The creativity is just nuts. If you love Chris as the insane bassist he is, check out the song Blessed Are The Poor. The bass is just incredible and what I love so much is how it is so layered in the mix. It's all a part of a perfectly woven tapestry.
The record is crazy good. Its a creative masterpiece that I am still taking apart. The thing that really blows me away is that even though it was just released, this has been Chris's project going back over a decade. I asked Chris to give me a bit of insight about LoEndFreque and his writing process on the album and this is what he had to say:
"LoEndFreque is a recording project of mine that has spanned over the last ten years or so. It was originally pretty much all sample based instrumental hip hop beats but over time as I built up my home studio, I started incorporating a lot of other musical influences and experimented with song writing ideas. I started to get into writing lyrics heavily as well."
While being his music at it's core, Chris credits some of the magic to collaborations with folks like Tim Walsh of The Stepkids and The Telle. "I have learned so much about music production from hanging out with him over the years," he says. The song Thrills was recorded with help from Jon Blanck and features drummer Ryan Dunne. He also credits some guitar skills to old friend Andrew Dapkin.
"Back in 2012, I did a few shows with Mike Nappi on drums and fellow King Fu bandmate Tim Palmieri but things got sidelined with this project once I got busier with other groups touring. Over the last couple years, I've been working on tons of new music and have been determined to finish a whole new album's worth which will be out very soon with a few really cool videos I made."
To get the ball rolling, the first self titled album, many years in the making, was released in February of this year. "Although it's new to many people, it's so old to me (laughs). I can't wait to put out some new stuff. Alan Evens from Soulive just finished mixing a track I did with the help of fellow Kung Fu-er Adrian Tramontano on drums playing along to my electronic programmed drums." Chris states that the new songs have a different vibe than the older ones. "I'm all about evolving", he says. I think if this record is any indication, that may be the understatement of the year.
He also says he has plans for some live shows this year. I can't even imagine the awesome that will be bleeding from the walls of those venues.
You need to stop what you are doing right now and give LoEndFreque your time. You can check it out on SPOTIFY and iTunes and even link up with the LoEndFreque page on the book of Face HERE. You will not be disappointed.
Get on that.