‘Replicating the sun’ is a two-track EP from progressive artist Chris Kailer, a talented composer whose remit takes in jazz, rock, metal and post rock. The EP is available as a digital download via bandcamp and is ‘name your price’ meaning that you could, potentially, download completely free, thus helping to spread the fanbase of an undeniably capable musician.
As with most new projects ‘replicating the sun’ has plenty to recommend it as well as one or two elements that could be filed under ‘need improvement’. On the positive side, ‘replicating the sun’ is a work of musical genius put together with care and passion. To create music such as this takes courage, dedication and time, and it is clear that the work is a labour of love for Chris. Also in the EP’s favour is the simple, yet effective artwork and the fact that it is readily available (for free) via Bandcamp. On the negative side, however, is the simple fact that Chris’ musical ambition frequently outstrips the production on this EP with the result that the music is not always rendered with the clarity necessary to call this a definitive release form the artist, but this is a small fault (and one that only marginally impacts upon the listener’s enjoyment) that is common to many independent releases. The first of the two tracks featured on this work, ‘replicating the sun (part 1)’ introduces Chris as an artist in love both with the visceral punch of metal and with the oddball time signatures and multi-part discipline of jazz. Musically you’ll find elements of Yes, plenty of King Crimson, a hint of Mahavishnu orchestra and flourishes of Tool and Isis all floating through the mix on this instrumental behemoth. The result is frequently jaw dropping, but it is also the nature of this multi-headed Hydra that calls attention to the limitations of the recording. So much is going on that you long for greater separation between instruments and the bass, whilst played with distinct skill, threatens to flood the mix at various points. As stated earlier, this does not stop you from appreciating the astonishing musical skill of the piece, but it is an area where improvement could be made on Chris’ debut full-length effort – a work that is already underway.
The second track (‘replicating the sun (part 2)’) segues straight from the previous work and emphasises the jazz-inspired elements of the material. Here the skills of Mike Oldfield are drawn to mind as the music slowly boils towards heavier pastures. It’s music that bears comparisons in the loosest sense, for whilst progressive fans will detect much that it is fleetingly familiar, the whole is most certainly the demented product of Chris’ fervent imagination, and as the guitars begin to surge with metallic urgency, it’s clear that Chris is a student of more than one school of musical thought. It is without doubt that such material will alienate at least as many people as it enraptures – this is not easy music, either to categorise or listen to – but it is a refreshingly honest and intelligent take on the progressive metal genre, shorn of any concern for anything as tawdry as commerciality and it bears patience and repeated listens.
As a debut EP ‘replicating the sun’ has much to commend it and where it does suffer, it is from the constraints of working within the independent realm rather than from fault or omission. The EP is available for download now, it costs you nothing (although if you do download it for free, at least take the trouble to share it with your friends) and it represents the blood, sweat and tears of an artist who is clearly both talented and possessed of a vivid imagination. Highly recommended for those with an eclectic taste, ‘replicating the sun’ is an EP that is impossible to forget – check it out now.