Premiere! Thomas Rakowitz: “The Illusion”

This is the first time in a while I wished I had access to Myspace-esque autoplay functionality so I could just play the “This is a woooooooorld premiere” sample from “i” over and over while you read this. Go here and just listen to the first eight seconds a few times.

I’m beyond thrilled that I get to be the one to deliver the first single from Thomas Rakowitz’s album The Musings of Balance. Longtime readers will know that I discovered Rakowitz as a featured artist on Brian Altano’s Misanthrope and became enthralled with his guitar work, noting that it completely changed the sonic landscape in which Altano could play around and made for an even better experience. Rakowitz has released a couple of albums and a steady stream of one-off tracks since then, showcasing that he hasn’t lost a step and is (somehow) getting better and more adventurous with each release.

Which leads us to “The Illusion,” an early look at what’s to come on The Musings of Balance. This track is one to keep you on your toes as it moves along. The beginning seems liked it’s setting up for a prog track, with a drum and riff combo that gave me flashes of Coheed and Cambria’s “Time Consumer.” This little theme continues, adding in a loose-sounding bass, slapping every note to give it a bit of jangle to go with some fat low-end texture. Rakowitz’s layered vocals add an air of something impending coming just behind the next chord progression.

And when that finally arrives in the chorus, we get something that takes the familiar groove that Rakowitz has been playing with and completely transforms it into a blast of chords, familiar enough to be a stepping stone from what was built up before but adding a new kick to the track as a whole. Combine that with a brief solo to rise above the sludgy riffs before plunging back down into a heavy outro and you’ve got a recipe for a roller coaster ride that knows just how to play on your expectations without giving you too much time to rest. You can check out “The Illusion” below and check back here in a few days for a full review of The Musings of Balance before it’s released on March 16th.

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