“Above the Towers” The Mercy Stone

This song is atmospheric beauty reminiscent of  Crosby Stills and Nash.  Featuring left of center rhythmic clapping patterns.  This is a more authentic and human sounding version of alternative acts already in existence such as Alt-J.   The only reason I draw the comparison is because of the layers of vocal harmonies and non-mainstream instrumentation.  This piece is best for relaxing meditation.  Play in your sun room as you ponder existential topics.

Artist bio:

“The Mercy Stone was founded by composer/guitarist Scott Grady in 2016. After spending several years studying music composition in an academic setting, Grady sought to put his composition chops to work within a project that would have the substance and sophistication fitting for a contemporary-classical concert stage as well as the accessibility that would be palatable to rock audiences. After finishing a master’s degree in music composition in 2015, he spent the next year and a half exploring how to achieve this synthesis. Understanding the pitfalls of music fusion, Grady wished to create a classical/rock hybrid style that was organic, drawing inspiration from his years of absorbing, studying, and performing all flavors of popular music (classic rock, pop, reggae, metal, funk, psychedelic/experimental rock), world music (West African drumming, Flamenco, Eastern European dance music,) along with the Western art music he studied through his years in academia.

The Mercy Stone’s first musical offering, Ghettoblaster, is the artistic expression of a composer with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. Feeling as if connections between art music and popular music have thus far been far too superficial, Grady has chosen to challenge audiences without abrasively superimposing the musical aesthetics of different genres and styles. Instead , with the creation of Ghettoblaster, he has chosen to seek common ground with diverse modern audiences and lure them whole-heartedly into a new musical space where the rhythms of Stravinsky and Led Zeppelin dance together – where the delicate counterpoint of composers from Josquin de Prez to J.S. Bach  meet the sublime melodic beauty of Nirvana and Radiohead – a musical landscape where the layered soundscapes of Steve Reich and Phillip Glass blend seamlessly with the transcendent  sonic textures and grooves of bands from Pink Floyd to Nine Inch Nails to Snarky Puppy.

The Mercy Stone’s second album, Above the Towers, picks up where Ghettoblaster, left off. Whereas their first album was entirely instrumental, this album is quite vocal-centered and contains only one all-instrumental track. While tunes such as “Wastin’ Time” and “Alright” could pass for straight-up indie rock, Above the Towers delivers musical gut-punches in the mesmerizing instrumental sections on tunes like “Warped” and “Broke Down,” beautifully funky vocal canons on tracks such as “Back of the Bus” and the title track, “Above the Towers,” and intense epic sonic journeys on songs such as “Got to Be Free” and “Around the Stars.” Although the first two albums from The Mercy Stone are quite different, clear connection can be heard in the poetry and craftsmanship of the music. It is wonderfully challenging to imagine where this group goes from here.

Along with the work of composition, there was also the important task of finding the right players to make the project work. The core membership of The Mercy Stone consists of players that, like Grady, walk the line between formal and non-formal musical worlds. Most of them have spent many years studying classical and/or jazz music in academic settings while simultaneously involving themselves in just about every possible genre imaginable.”

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About IAN MCFARLAND 418 Articles
Musician releasing music under self created record label

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