Band: Carpe Nota
Band Website: www.carpenota.com
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2012
Much like the world of Jazz, Progressive Rock has a rich history of instrumental music. There are times where prog will borrow much from jazz, after all for progressive rock borrowing is an essential art. Carpe Nota however take a different approach. This quartet is made up of Dan Pluta (keyboards), Peter Rubinetti (guitars), Ken Sundling (bass) and Phil Derenbecher (drums). On their first self-titled release the first thing you notice is these guys ROCK. At the same time the proggy influences are all over the place.
Carpe Nota features sixty-eight-minutes of music, eight tracks, most of which are on the longish side, in fact half of them are around ten minutes. So you would be correct in assuming there are plenty of musical change-ups. We start with “Thoracic Park” [10:41] a tune that begins softly enough, with a heartbeat, that leads into string and choir keyboard pads which then open up to soprano operatic vocalizations lulling you into a false sense of serenity before the band proper collides into a series of cascading arpeggios and then mixes it up with some straight forward four-four rock. This is the Carpe Nota way. The music changes everywhere: starts and stops, solos fly in and fly out. First it’s the guitar, and then it’s the keyboards. Then the two play together then against each other; the interplay of instruments is everywhere. Then the music will change up entirely. As you listen the one thing that becomes clear is that all lead lines serve the tunes core melody, departing from it yes, but returning to it always. In many respects it’s easy to place these guys in the heavy symphonic category as their music is highly structured and layered with plenty of sounds. At the same time it avoids many of the pitfalls of just relying on heavy guitar to propel the music forward as keyboards have a distinct place of prominence in the sound with all kinds of analog and digital sounds.
If you prefer your music to be lyric-free to focus attention on musicianship, Carpe Nota is the perfect disc for you. There are hints of Styx, Kansas, Rick Wakeman, ELP and more all over this disc. Each tune features a slightly different aspect of their rock-based foundation mixed with healthy amounts of progressive flourishes. I’d certainly recommend this to fans of instrumental symphonic prog.