If an advanced civilization somewhere out in the cosmos is responsible for colonizing life on Earth and the Mayans were right about December 21st, 2012, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Telesma‘s new album, Action in Inaction booming from within the mothership when they descend to reclaim our planet on the winter solstice this year.
The breadth of influences on this album, the textures–the confounding, contrasting, and effortlessly blended elements– the pioneering spirit throughout, herald a watershed moment for Telesma. They have officially transcended. Action is unlike any recordings that preceded it. It is their masterpiece.
First, it is impossible to talk about this album without first talking about Telesma. While a lot of other bands think that they do their own thing, Telesma really does. If there is one discernible influence here, it might be Tool on track four, “Beautiful Desire” when drummer Rob Houck makes a case for being as good as Danny Carey. However, most influences on this album go broader than bands or genres. Action in Inaction is an exploration of entire cultures. A striking example is Ian Hesford’s voice on “White Lotus” as he throat sings the heart of the Lotus Sutra. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
While tracks like “Here and Now” and the title track “Action in Inaction” are built upon what could be considered modern rock frameworks, the scales, changes and elements used are anything but predictable. Other cuts like “Shavananda” and “Groovinda” fuse elements of eastern and tribal music with western components to form something completely unique. Throughout the album, the tribal instrumentation and throat singing of Ian Hesford, and the electronic elements conjured by Jason Sage, create an otherworldly landscape punctuated by big, resounding, layered harmonies from the entire band. Overall, the execution and production are flawless.
Each member of the band gives a standout performance. These guys are some of the best musicians in the region, and they all bring a wealth of experience to the table.
Joanne Juskus is a noted singer-songwriter in her own right, with a voice not unlike an angel’s. I’ve said, on more than one occasion, that Bryan Jones is the best bass player living in Maryland. Chris Mandra is a mad scientist devising all manner of digitally manipulated percussion and vocals. As a guitar player, he remains remarkably inventive and distinct, but not overpowering (a struggle for some guitar players). Jason Sage masterfully infuses the music with atmosphere through a variety of creative textures and elements, and also contributes significantly to the percussion.
Ian Hesford, besides having the uncanny ability to rise from the dead, is the most unique musician I know. His insatiable curiosity for tribal music has driven him to amass an unmatched musical skill set. More than that, the release of this album marked Ian Hesford’s literal resurrection. Last month, Ian’s heart stopped on stage at Ram’s Head Live. Later that night he was brought back to life. And if that doesn’t pique your curiosity, I don’t know what will.
Photo by crystalvisionsart.com