Posted by Pat Baxter on 06/29 at 10:33 AM
Audio Imagery was among the music acts at Summer’s Best Music Fest in State College this past weekend. It was their second appearance at the annual event, and they were listed as a rock band based on their lineup from last year. Their current incarnation, however, is more accurately described as pop hip-hop with some 80s synth leanings, and deriving their influence from the likes of T-Pain and OutKast (but without the auto-tuner, thank God).
Indeed, there was enough synth to go around, starting with frontman Javan Mason on keyboards and vocals, Michael Keller on an electronic drum kit, and a few guests playing other synthesizer devices. Rounding out the band were Ian Callahan on bass and another guest on saxophone and flute.
As a live act, Audio Imagery was fairly tight. It took them a couple songs to warm up, but the energy peaked as the audience became increasingly engaged with the music. Javan Mason showed his talent as a singer and rapper, holding his own with his rhymes and offering melodic voicings that fit well with the pop hip-hop paradigm. At times the music was emotive as lush atmospheric chord changes covered the audience while the rhythm section maintained a semi-funk pocket-feel throughout.
One musician seemed out of place, however: the saxphone player. His style just didn’t mesh with the pop hip-hop feel. The ideas he lent to the music tended to veer off into Kenny G-esque runs; he tried to force the issue and ended up with too much. He steadied himself, though, when he switched to the flute, often doubling with the synth keyboards and creating a complimentary sound that added depth the melodies.
Overall, if pop hip-hop is your thing, you should check out Audio Imagery. Though their music is often borrowed from the current commercial sounds of MTV, they’re worth a listen.
Visit their MySpace page.
Visit their Facebook page.
Author: Pat Baxter
Bio: A native of Pittsburgh, Pat Baxter is now working for WPSU/Penn State Public Broadcasting in video on-demand and multi-media. He enjoys playing guitar and bass, listening to music and watching films. He likes listening to grunge/alternative rock, experimental and prog rock, and jazz/fusion. His favorite rock bands include the Smashing Pumpkins (1990s era), David Bowie, Talking Heads, King Crimson, Buckethead, Frank Zappa, Mars Volta, David Torn, and the Cure.
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