'You need to get this CD.' - Rambles 'High points: All. Low points: None. It's time for a new band to claim the title of best band around now, and Audima could well be it.' -Music Junkies Anonymous 'Definition is hard to define, but a definite music trip to take.' - Altar Native 'Words to live by.' - Splendid eZine Audima is something very different (it occurs to us, as we listen to commercial radio): a band from Ann Arbor, Michigan who create and perform unique, thoughtful music using a wide palette of influence, including in the mix things that may sound like indie rock, or jazz, or folk.. Audima is drawn to music that has the power to pull the listener in, music that is patient but does not rest. The music can have a mind of it's own - moving freely between composition and improvisation. Audima: Returning to the Source of the Inspiration Northern Express / WNMC Traverse City MI Mike Dudek 'Watch the waves roll across the bay / the sun is high / in these surroundings it all seems clear...' Based around the vision and songwriting of John Woodruff, Definition is clearly the product of careful planning and dedicated craftsmanship. The opening lines recall a time when the lyricist, vocalist and guitarist was living alone on Old Mission peninsula, storing the imagery in his mind for what would grow to be one of the best all-around albums to come out of Michigan in a very long time. This is music that captures your attention immediately, for a number of reasons. The sound is so distinctive, especially when compared to what saturates the commercial airwaves in this day and age. Woodruff's vocal technique is clear and unassuming, while his lyrics convey emotion and a rich inner narrative. You begin to notice that this isn't a collection of songs, so much as a series of progressions in a complicated story. And upon repeated listening, the tale seems to delve ever deeper. 'It's hard to say when it turned into a continuous album,' said John. 'Many of the songs actually began as separate entities. It wasn't until I started thinking about recording a full album that I realized the songs had similar themes and there was a clear current in what I had been writing.' The songs flow freely from track to track without fully stopping. One melody drifts into the forefront as the former subsides, moving into another chapter. Several of the tracks are bridged by atmospheric sounds like waves crashing against the shore, the chirping of small frogs or heavy rainfall and thunderclaps (much of which was recorded on the peninsula with a stereo microphone and a MiniDisc recorder). 'I really developed a connection to my surroundings while I was there,' he said. In addition to writing the eleven songs, John also masterfully produced and mixed the nearly-hour-long composition. It is an unhurried and yet deeply powerful recording. It is difficult to pick an individual song or sound by which to categorize this band. Several of the tracks will begin with a particular melody and instrumentation, and sound entirely different by the beginning of the next. Almost every song contains multiple, contrasting melodies, reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins' notorious independent debut, Gish. The fifth track ('to make thoughts and feelings known to others') begins, for example, with lush electric chords, but melts down to an acoustic strum and more subdued vocal in under two minutes, reflecting an inner calm returning to the narrator. That acoustic melody is followed by the sound of echoing tides, which introduce a short, tranquil instrumental called 'the process of separating somebody from others' on drums, bass and acoustic guitar. The album draws from a variety of styles, and yet the production joins it together perfectly. It's a good example of what smart production can do to improve a recording. The musicianship, as well, was highly mutable. In the five years since many of these songs were first conceptualized, the band finally began to take shape when it came time to record. 'The role of friends and other musicians was so vital to the completion of the disc,' said Woodruff, now living in Ann Arbor. Adam James played drums on every track on 'Definition', while Bob Mervak brought excellent keyboard melodies to many passages. Jay Friend supplemented the guitar on four songs, while a few of the other songs took a more freeform jazz approach (for example, 'a state of uncontrolled activity', enhanced by Takashi Iio's acoustic bass, or 'a lack of systematic arrangement', aided by Todd Bauer's flugelhorn). 'There was always the intention of getting a band together and playing live, but it didn't become a reality until Bob and Adam expressed an interest in it,' said John. 'The live show has a different flavor than the album. We're now playing as two guitars, bass, drums and vocals,' adding that he does venture into sparse electronics when he has a chance to stop playing guitar. 'It's a little more rock-oriented. Some of the songs sound a lot like they do on the disc, and some don't very much.' Fans of the album are likely to be delighted, while the uninitiated are guaranteed to have their eyes and ears opened. It is always a privilege to witness a talented band in it's infancy, especially when that band has as distinctive a sound as Audima.
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