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The Buzz about Nectarphonic’s album Satellite…

Phonic is the scientific study of sound. Nectar is in Greek and Roman mythology, the drink of the gods that perpetuated immortality. In nature, nectar is a liquid produced by blooming plants to attract insects that assist in pollination.

So with all of these associations with perpetuating life, in a nutshell Nectarphonic must be sounds that make you want to get it on. Technically speaking of course!

If Natalie Merchant was backed by a psychedelic surf rock band it would be Nectarphonic. This band definitely qualifies for me as being one of the best in SoCal sounds right now. I was fortunate to catch a Nectarphonic show at BB Kings (pictured right) at the Universal Citywalk in Hollywood. It’s a little restaurant club with a balcony space and a studio style set for the video shoot that bands can purchase of their gigs that are mixed live on the spot.

Do you remember the open to Big Country’sIn A Big Country”? Well, thanks to Nectarphonic’s amazing lead guitarist Ustad Khan Ali for introducing me to a nifty little gadget called the Ebow (Energy Bow.) The device makes the guitar’s strings continually vibrate by producing an energy field. To me the sound is a bit like a Theremin (which Howard Shore used in his soundtrack for Tim Burton’s film “Ed Wood,”) another instrument that manipulates sound waves to create an unearthly, almost retro sci-fi sound! Are you intrigued? It was invented the same year as Star Wars, the same time New Wave was coming into it’s own. You can hear the Ebow on songs by Duran Duran, Blondie and David Bowie. Of course I wasn’t surprised by the Gary Wright reference on the open to Nectarphonic’s latest release Satellite. The song, “Undone” definitely has some spacey dream-weaving through the soundscape.

I love the title track, which has a bit of an Armenian rock edge to it. The production definitely catches that live sound with a feedback fade out built into the mix. “Boomerang” is a cool sound experiment getting into a fun drum jam with steel drum style accents and chanting throughout. You almost think you are on a ride called Space Age Island Safari.

The Little Ease” has a bit of a jazz edge to it with a little of those sound loops played backwards warping in the background as subtle elements that do not overtake the entire song. “Reign of Colours” is also ethereal with creepy shades of “Strawberry Fields Forever” without veering on parody as many bands are wont to do! In short, the mix is good!

The album entire is very soothing for those of you who like Mazzy Star and Paula Cole. I found the live show a lot more hard rockin’ especially “Beautiful and Pitiful” which is also my favorite track on the album. The song is a whopping, epic and impressive eight minutes long. It stops about four minutes in and then turns into what is probably better defined as a hidden track. And what is it? It’s a very pretty cover of Flock of SeagullsSpace Age Love Song.”

Speaking of covers… Not to compare, but “Beautiful and Pitiful” sounds ready made to be covered by Courtney Love! However, lead vocalist Kerry Bennett (pictured left) definitely fills the shoes, or in her case, knee high black boots. This song does not disappoint! A much needed superlative totally turns the entire album upside down and on its head. What word? Well, you will have to listen to it to find out! ;)

For more on the amazing Nectarphonic check out this link:

For more on the amazing Ebow check out this link:

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