Reducing the many scattered worlds of popular music down to a singular aesthetic is a tall order, but Aranka Fabian is a band that takes this task head-on. While rooted in improvisational rock and jazz traditions, the band filters their cosmopolitan influences through familiar vernaculars and unites the great breadth of their inspiration through melodic and lyrical themes. Aranka Fabian is: Chris Brodhead (bass and vocals,) Craig Brodhead (guitar and vocals,) Adam Tressler (guitar,) and E.J. Ulery (drums.) Aranka Fabian's latest album "Interpolation" is a perfect example of such skillful and socially pertinent musical reductionism. Constantly traversing musical realms and moods yet logically sequenced and inexplicably related, the album is reminiscent of a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Despite the similarity to one's own roving thoughts, the songs seldom slip into complete abstraction; instead elegant structures of the songs resist the common trappings of whimsy. Nor do the songs seem to emulate particular genres or artists but different aspects of the band's personality are revealed in disparate environments. Though more than half the album is instrumental with frequent journeys into esoteric regions of jazz with frequent allusions to ambient electronica, somehow it remains difficult not to describe the music as "pop." Gently contoured vocal melodies, lyrical guitar solos, eloquent piano arrangements, intriguingly amorphous drumming and subtle synthetic touches coalesce to form an accomplishment of true artistry. The band was formed in 1999 by brothers Chris (bass) and Craig (guitar) Brodhead, E.J. Ulery (drums,) PJ Doyle (vocals,) Ben Murphy (guitar) and Bill Scully. While still in high school (except for 12 year old Craig,) the band proceeded to become a leading force in the emerging Cleveland "jamband" scene, winning Cleveland's Battle of the Bands in their 3rd show. The group was an impressive, if not comical sight with extended group improvisation and multi-part prog-rock acrobatic compositions. With a good deal of music education already undertaken by the young members, it was clear that an interesting future was in store for them. Various lineup changes ensued throughout the next few years at the 2nd guitar spot. The band did not take on it's current form until rhythm guitarist Adam Tressler joined the band in 2003. Since then, the group dynamic has continued to evolve as they approach advanced modal harmony in a rock vernacular. Their rich repertoire reveals the amalgam of their influences; one is just as likely to hear a song from the shoegazer rockers "Low" than a Pat Metheny composition. Sticking to standard rock quartet instrumentation of 2 guitars, bass and drums, they seem to find endless ways to stretch the boundaries of their instruments, taking an approach more akin to the early 80's King Crimson sound rather than the traditional blues-rock quartet sound. Today, the band can be found in Boston, where they have relocated to accommodate for guitarists Adam and Craig who are studying at the Berklee College of Music.
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