CD REVIEW: My Shadow and I - Summer Cycle (Nonexistent Recordings)
By: Cyrus Rhodes
My Shadow and I
Label: Nonexistent Recordings
Genre: Ambient, Chill, Dub, Alternative Techno
Sounds Like: Future Sound of London, Curve, My Bloody Valentine, Moby, George Winston
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Post Production (Mix and Master), Marketability (due to Post Production)
“My Shadow and I” is an interesting musical project that hails from Philidelphia. PA. and consists of (1) solitary member: composer Brad Podray. This latest release entitled Summer Cycle (Nonexistent Recordings) was released in 2012. Influences range from George Winston, David Lanz, and Yanni. This is his third release to date.
The CD gently lifts off with “Taken Higher Up” an ambient intro piece that serves up inviting strings, well placed Piano accents against industrial-type rhythms and pulsating moog bass painted against a grand mosaic of music and sound. Track 2 “More Optimism” presents a kaleidoscope of musical imagery featuring grooving rhythm with well placed percussive accents, formidable bass line and piano and walls of melody that flow and ebb its way through emotional fruition. Track 3 “Conservations” serves up a robust yet methodical rock vibe against hypnotic keyboard and synthesizer accents with from Podray. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear classic elements of Electronica, Ambient, Chill-out or dub music, yet with an Alternative Rock aftertaste. You will also notice lush layers musical instrumentation layered everywhere from impressive percussive accents, to effective beats and rhythms, to pulsating moog and bass segments, to psychedelic guitars, horns, acoustic guitars, synthesizer, flowing strings and dynamic keyboard accents layered along the way. The music itself is extremely unique, highly original and not easy to pin down. The soundscapes are interesting, infectious and hypnotic. The musical landscape flow & ebbs extremely against the dynamic scope of the music. The CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing an impressive songwriting craft. From hypnotic “Wavecrest, to heartfelt “To the Great” to mesmerizing “A Sour/Sweet” to heartfelt “We Suppose” to striking “Din” this and graceful “Unwither” this CD has someth9ng for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Costly” the perfect finale piece for a catalogue like this.
Zeroing in on the liner notes I don’t see any specifics on the Engineering Team i/e (Mixing and Mastering). It’s fair to say the overall mix is a bit amateurish when compared to other Gold Standard Productions within the genera. If I was a betting man I would wager Podray did the Recording, Mixing, and Mastering all by himself. Each phase of the Production Process should be handled by a separate music professional altogether. At the end of the day it’s amazing how much perspective, and checks and balances this can give your musical production. The affect this will have on its overall marketability cannot be overstated. The CD itself is not made of industry standard silkscreen material. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but many of the aforementioned issues do affect the CD's overall marketability.
Overall this release from “My Shadow and I” has some very impressive moments indeed. Summer Cycle is a very dynamic and fascinating catalogue of music. The music is highly original and not so easily pinned down during the first go around. Its strong suit is the amazing musical depth, rich sonic layering and Industrial-type beats and brilliant sampling touches. The musical textures are compelling and full of variety. Podray clearly displays some brilliant creativity here and an enormous amount of talent was required to write these songs. Summer Cycle is definitely a dynamic and progressive musical statement that offers a lot of musical variety via vivid sound and brilliant creative energy.