Estradasphere – It’s Understood Album Review

  1. Thom
  2. February 18, 2008 2:17 pm

Estradasphere is an innovative group that often times changes style and feel several times throughout an album, if not the entire song! Seeing this group outperform their albums live is what really turned me onto playing violin on a much more serious level.

The group’s original lineup on this album consists of:Estradasphere – It’s Understood Album cover

  • John Whooley – Saxophone
  • Timb Harris – Violin
  • Jason Schimmel – Guitar
  • Tim Smolens – Bass
  • Dave Murray – Drums

What makes this group so unique, aside from their interesting blending of timbres, is just how smoothly and easily they move from style to style! The album opens up with a twenty minute gypsy-virtuoso sounding piece but very quickly demonstrates Estradasphere’s range by showcasing each instrument through multiple variations. The Danse of Tosho and Slavi and Randy’s Desert Adventure starts off with a Jewish klezmer feel but then plunges into metal and right back into klezmer again, while The Trials and Tribulations of Parking on Your Front Lawn adds a twist to an old bluegrass tune.

The Princes Of ‘Xibalba’ is split up into four movements assumingly based on an old folk tale of a similar name, as song names refer to characters in the story. I really enjoyed the tight intermingling of the violin and saxophone on XQuiQ, which falls straight into the final movement Hunnahpu & Xbalanque, reprising and improvising on previous themes. Db Hell* is probably best-described gypsy jazz, but is really so much more! You will hear everything from Spanish guitar to classical violin, to metal, klezmer, bluegrass, jazz, funk, and video game on this album!

*(D flat , cleverly referring to the key it is written in)

Listen to highlights

Purchase the album here

Hear longer samples here

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