CD REVIEW: Douglas La Ferle - "Professor Pandemonium’s cabinet of Wonders
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"La Ferle is an extremely dangerous composer"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Douglas La Ferle
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Ambient Psychedelic Rock, Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: Beck, The Gorillas, Nick Cave
Technical Grade: 7/10
Mild case of
crisis, winded songs
Composer Douglas La Ferle who hails from Royal Oak Michigan & releases his latest CD entitled Professor Pandemonium’s cabinet of Wonders.
Logging in at just over 66 minutes the CD gently takes to flight with soothing intro piece “Let Monkeys Rule” This song methodically serves up driving industrial-esqe type rhythms against rich sonic melodies & psychedelic vocal flair from La Ferle. Track 2 “Give & Take” shifts gears a bit with its bluesy acoustic guitar groove that dishes out impressive chops against hypnotic vocal flow from La Ferle. Track 2 is painfully simple yet painfully brilliant in its delivery. Track 3 “Pandemonium Ensues” is an impressive hypnotic groove that slowly slithers across your ears with it’s trippy vibe, satirical lyrical content & amazing originality. This song is quite original sounding, dynamic & full of musical peaks & valleys that flow & ebb through fruition. This piece is remarkably striking to the ears with its solid bottom end feel & pulsating bass grooves, gong, & musical variety. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of a classic Beck, The Gorillas, & perhaps a dash of Nick Cave. But you will also notice a few ambient, chill dub influences in there as well in the vein of Prodigy & Deep Forrest. I would classify this music as psychedelic acoustic rock with brilliant flashes of theatrical ambience. The musicianship is pretty solid across the board as La Ferle has created an amazing musical playground to play in. I might add there are some impressive vocal harmonies & accents along the way that are both well placed & effective. Equally as impressive are some of the acoustic guitar chops & rhythms. You will also notice rich layers of ambient instrumentation layered along the way full of dynamic sequencing & melodic soundscapes with things like harmonies, timpani, gong, flute, percussive accents. La Ferle’s voice is melodically consistent & is in the vein of Alan Parson, Beck & Dave Gaham (Depeche Mode). I might add the CD is fully loaded with over 60 minutes of music to listen to. From upbeat “There is no Time,” “Just be Friends” & “Original Heart” to psychedelic “X-ray eyes” to striking ”Another Love” to Celtic “Sir Paul & Rebel John” to ambient Waves of Darkness” this CD has something for just about everyone. The true brilliance of La Ferle is his melancholy sad but true moments that manage to shine through on piece like The Night Weeps” & “I can love you.”
It’s fair to say some songs on the CD are better than others. The CD sounds extremely ambient, synthetic & electronic. Several songs don’t sound like the same band or artist. I like the wide musical variety & extended play format but at the end of the day the CD suffers from a mild case of genera identity crisis. The mix is a bit all over the place with disproportionate & inconsistent volume& instrument levels. La Ferle’s voice works well within the catalogue but is nothing spectacular. His baritone is relatively monotone as he elects to play it safe on all songs avoiding any serious risks that would indicate a world class vocal ability. I wish some of the vocals & drum rhythms sat higher within the mix, especially the kick, snare. All songs over 4 minutes in length tend to drag you to the finish line.
“Professor Pandemonium’s cabinet of Wonders” is a compelling musical journey. Its strong suit it’s amazing sonic ambience the song for song musical flow. La Ferle gets high marks for his brilliant musical textures & high amount of originality. - nice touch. This CD will be a real joy for those listeners out there who want flowing theatrical ambience to fill their sonic space peacefully & unobtrusively. This progressive format makes for a great extended play experience. I recommend you just hit play, close your eyes & see where the journey takes you. Like the title says, this CD offers up a unique musical perspective & should be considered a rare find. Overall it is one of the most original & tripped out musical experiences I have encountered this year. Douglass La Ferle is an extremely dangerous composer – it would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him
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