Us, Today: Computant (It.Me.Music, 2018)
Jazz? Ambient? Post-Rock? Us, Today utilizes all these genres and more and molds them into a hyper-fantastic sonic collage they call Computant. This genre bending trio is made up of Kristin Agee (Vibraphone, Synths), Joel Griggs (Guitar, Theremin, Synth), and Jeff Mellott (Drums) and they are based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Releasing music since 2011 with their RH Sessions EP, the trio have composed an array of incredibly creative and moving releases. With Computant, they flex their brilliant song writing talent once again on nine tracks.
“No Funny Game” begins with a drum and bass feel with slight electronica touches. Then it moves into this gorgeous, almost sci-fi soundtrack vibe. It’s the first chapter in an epic sonic tale. The vibraphone really picks up half-way through and the energy increases and the guitar and drums really begin to pick. It’s an incredible invitation into what is to follow. “Spellcaster (Dr. Spirit)” begins the first sort of real chapter of this sonic unfolding with fuzzed out vibraphone that then explodes into this massively percussive frenzy over throbbing drums and electronic blips. “Hello Viewers” acts as an interlude with voices talking over one another mixed with various tonal notes and a deep hum. Clearly a reference to the absurdity of advertising, the track is almost eerie.
“Sharin’” begins with a brilliant vibraphone melody that is then joined by drums and then a deep, fuzzed out bass tone. “Sharin” is a head-bobber with an addictive hook and off-kilter beat. “Best Unfriend” is this epic track that feels like the background music to an 80’s traveling montage in an 80’s blockbuster. Guitars pump as the song’s adrenaline with driving drums underneath and the vibraphone work is exceptional. Then the guitar comes to the front with an almost surf-reverb vibe. “Best Unfriend” is glorious on every level. As the piece advances, the variations begin to present soaring moments and the guitar just lifts into a wall of reverb. Voices whisper in the background, moving from speaker to speaker. An incredible center to a terrific album!
“WHAT IS TIME NOW. GOODMORNING?” is whimsical in that almost horror film kind of way. With a feeling of urgency, the drums and guitars created a conversation that is frenetic and panicked while the vibraphone rings out melodies to enhance the feeling. When Us, Today begin to rev up into a groove, it is just something special and “WHAT IS TIME NOW. GOODMORNING?” really delivers. The explosive distorted guitar work here is menacing and the emotive freight the band communicates is tremendous. Ok, so I’ve lavished praise on the prior tracks and they deserve every compliment but “Greetings from the Master”, for me, is the pinnacle of this incredible album. It highlights the trio in a way that is complex, explosive, and downright brilliant. Everything, and I mean everything, about “Greetings from the Master” is perfection. The arrangement, tonal choices, percussive moments, and synth sounds all come together into this superb moment on Computant.
“Wealthe + Fame + Luck + Love” is a synth heavy piece that has this booming bass tone accompanied by sparse drums and bright vibraphone work. An electronic voice repeats the title as the band moves in and out of more explosive movements when the guitar joins in the arrangement. “Eracism” closes the album with a dreamy, delayed vibraphone drenched melody. This lasts till about halfway through the piece. It’s very calming and then is joined by fuzzy, warbling guitars and slow, plodding percussion. Then, the instruments all but fade away and a single drone plays. Then the voices, talking over one another, come up in the mix once again. The cacophony raises in volume, becomes distorted, and then there is silence.
Computant is a genre bending, explosive, emotive aural journey. Us, Today have really crafted nine incredible tracks that create a cohesive and complex album. The tracks, one after the other, are exceptional as a whole and on their own. This band, which knows no boundaries, is a trio of accomplished musicians that come together to compose sophisticated instrumental pieces. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Complutant and exploring their catalog back to the beginning. You most certainly won’t be disappointed.
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