Jonathan Eads: Under the Veneer

Under the Veneer

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Gathering together a 10-song collection made of sounds from field recordings taken after a large snowstorm mixed with a set of sample-based instruments, Jonathan Eads’ presents Under the Veneer.  An accomplished musician who studied classical and jazz guitar extensively, “Jeads,” as Eads calls himself here, recently moved to a forest outside of Bellingham Washington, the new location providing as much a fresh source of inspiration as a ‘cacophony’ of natural sounds for him to capture. Using these, with his main instrument an old rusty music box, the ten ambient pieces are certainly unique.

“Left Alone” opens. With its wooden arpeggio backbeat, plink-y keys, and single soft synth line floating above, we are off and running. “Deception Pass” is a slower tune with a single-note sad lead, changing the mood quickly across these first two songs.

“Prelude To Fall,” has a sense of urgency to it, pushed along by a steady beat and shuffling way-back-in-the-mix percussion under a strong synth lead that occasionally bends for some extra color. Halfway the tune slips into quieter territory, but we get the synth and running percussion picking up soon after to bring us to the end. This is my favorite tune on Under the Veneer.

The ender here, “Last Dream,” is another winner for me. Again, there is a backbeat I can hang my ear on, and, again, a solid synth line that makes a real statement.

I certainly appreciate the effort that goes into making an album like this; the recording of natural sounds, mixing them with old instruments. Sure, there may be moments when Jeads overstays his welcome in repeating melodies, but Under the Veneer proves to be a solid release of a singular vision.

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