Reviewed by Kent Manthie
This new EP, by Aniqatia, made up of Josh Beck, on guitar & vocals; Chris Navatier, on guitar & vocals, Nick Fritz on drums and featuring Jared Balogh on bass & vocals. This is a different set-up for Balogh, who is known more for his instrumental guitar virtuosity, as evidenced on his last few solo albums. Hailing from Lehigh, PA, Aniqatia and Balogh united to record Erratics. It’s a nice turn of events for Balogh who is more known for his clever, crafty avant-jazz, experimental instrumental music. Of course, Balogh didn’t “dumb” it down for Erratics, but he did switch over to bass, with Josh Beck and Christ Navatier both playing guitar. But Jared does lend his voice to the music, sharing vocal duties with the aforementioned guitar players.
Well-versed in his craft, Balogh has released several albums’ worth of quite interesting, abstract musical art. This time out, though, Balogh is part of a quartet, in the form of Aniqatia. The music is great, still has a certain moody flavor to it, but with vocals.
There are familiar elements to Erratics, riffs and hooks, plus lyrics, that are not uncommon elsewhere, rather, it’s the higher quality of production, musicianship and its independence which set it apart. Erratics features some groovy poptones, including the opener “Peregrine”, which sets the tone for the rest: “The Cost”, “Maneuvers”, “Elegy” and “Shark Bay”, all of which are inventive, novel, hip and not at all like typical commercial radio fare – the right description for their music would be something like “post-rock”, “experimental (w/vocals)”, etc.
Jared Balogh, who’s delightful guitar melodies flutter throughout the EP, standout, especially to one who’s familiar with Balogh’s own repertoire. As a matter of fact, it was Balogh himself, who directed me to Erratics. He gave me the information that the EP was up on Free Music Archive’s website, on which one can download quite a large catalog of music for free. FMA is not unlike another website to which one can access free music and other downloadable data, the more well-known, www.archive.org site, which is home to a great deal of archived, live Grateful Dead shows, going back to their beginning years, in the mid-1960s, up through the mid-90s, when Jerry Garcia died and the band broke up. In fact, on archive.org, there is a separate area, devoted entirely to digitally enhanced versions of many concert recordings from 1967 up to 1995. There is so much more, as well, on archive.org – not only music, either, but a repository of many things – talks, lectures, concerts of various other bands, recorded music and a catalog that spells out what is available there.
Anyway, getting back to Aniqatia, I recommend it to those who enjoy new, undiscovered music with a je ne sais quois to it. To get to know Aniqatia more, check out their write-up on the Free Music Archive – http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Aniqatia/Erratics/ or go to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/aniqatia . If you want to write them an email, send it to email@example.com –KM.