• Man From Ravcon, The - Skyscraper



    Man From Ravcon, The - Skyscraper
    Released by: Ravcon Records
    Released on: October 15, 2013.
    Purchase From CD Baby

    Mike Brown, recording as The Man From Ravcon, is a pretty busy guy. Proving that there’s no rest for the wicked, the former lead singer/guitarist for North Carolina’s, The Ravelers, these days Mike’s more interested in doing his own thing, and that thing he does? Well, it’s pretty great. Enter Skyscraper, the latest full length completely instrumental album and the sixth album he’s put out in four years. Like I said, he keeps pretty busy.

    How to sum this up? Frankly, the music that’s been churned out by The Man From Ravcon is the best soundtrack you’ll ever hear to a bunch of movies that never existed in the first place. With this project, Brown drinks deep from the well of Morricone, you’ll hear all manner of Spaghetti Western soundtrack influences creeping into pretty much every track on this disc. And that’s not a bad thing. There’s some great surf guitar, some heavy twang, and some interesting and unpredictable instrumentation in the background that’ll make your ears perk up and take notice.

    There’s a lot more going on here than just regurgitating the type of music Clint Eastwood tried to outwit Lee Van Cleef to back in the sixties, though. Just as important to this release as Morricone’s western soundtrack work is Riz Ortolani’s material. There are moments here that conjure up music from Mondo Cane, which is appropriate in a way as the album has a definite ‘taking you to places you’ve never seen before’ vibe to it. Even the song titles, which obviously don’t reflect the non-existent lyrical content, imply movement, be it the opening track, Balloon, or the closer, the darker Trip To The Morgue. Layered underneath a lot of the Eurocult influence are some seriously proggy levels that give much of the zippier guitar work a heavier, trippier backbone to build off of. It works well. While on the surface blending Waters era Pink Floyd and surf guitar strumming might sound like a recipe gone wrong, the proof that this odd combination works and works well is all over the ten tracks on Skyscraper. This is most noticeable on the last two tracks, where the prog influence is stronger than some of the other tracks on the album.

    The complete track listing for Skyscraper is:

    Balloon / Cloud Teaser / Secret Passage / The Spring Of Our Content / Friend / Veni, Vidi, Vici / Higher / Skyscraper / The Fugitive / Trip To The Morgue

    Note, that last track? It’s a CD exclusive bonus track and is not include on the digital download version of the album. Long live physical media. Ultimately, you don’t have to be a fan of vintage Eurocult soundtracks to dig this, but it probably helps. You don’t have to be a fan of prog rock to dig this (it’s generally not my thing, but I can appreciate it when it’s done well) either, but it probably helps. What you do have to appreciate is intricate musicianship, an appreciation for technical ability and the layering of sound to create mood, atmosphere and sometimes even tension, because that’s where this album really and truly excels and sets itself apart. The guitar playing is excellent, the percussion strong without ever burying the guitars in the mix (there’s quite a bit of emphasis on stringed instrumentation here more than anything else) and everything else just sort of blends together in a surreal, sometimes hazy, delicious soup of sound.

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