Michael Whalen – Future Shock
When it comes to my music preferences, I usually tend to be drawn to a more experimental, weird and messy sound, but every now and then, I need something professional and well put together, like the jazz-fusion album “Future Shock” by Michael Whalen. Professional shouldn’t be considered as a synonym for bland or predictable, especially in this case, considering the spacey electronic elements and world music influences used here.
Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re surely familiar with Whalen’s work, especially if you’re an American – he is the person behind 700 film and TV courses, 32 solo and soundtrack recordings and has two Emmys and a BMI award under his belt. For his newest one, he is collaborating with three very big names in the music industry – Simon Phillips, Bob Magnusson and Tony Levin!
With such a cast, the quality of the album is exactly what you are picturing it to be, I don’t feel worthy to comment on it with my 19 years of listening experience. Here you can find the video for ‘Poly Jam’ and see for yourself the magic happening behind the scenes:
Michael Whalen – Poly Jam (click here if the video doesn’t play)
The one critique that I have is regarding the cover art – it is not fit for album of that rank, looks like it was done in 15 minutes and the photo used is weirdly compressed on the sides. If I saw the cover somewhere, I would’ve thought it was for some mediocre bedroom project, and this album is anything but that!
The feeling that this album is giving me is a blend of futuristic soundscapes with a notch of something, warm, homey and familiar. In a way, it is that peaceful, idealistic utopia that we all are longing for at the moment.
The album is very coherent, but each track has its own specific theme to it – from the energetic wave that hits you right away from the title track, the beautiful Hispanic motive in ‘Hermona Noche’, the peacefulness in ‘Morning song’, the adventurousness in ‘Wanderlust’, to the sensuality of the final song.
Just from the titles, you get the impression that nostalgia plays a big factor in the setting. That feeling is mostly brought in by the saxophone, especially in ‘Memories Of You’. Even though I’m too young to be having nostalgic feelings towards the 90’s, I do associate the song with that time. It reminds me of the soundtracks of my parents’ favorite American shows from that decade and how we used to watch them together when I was a child. Of course, the title doesn’t suggest “Memories of my favorite sitcom”, there is surely a way more poetic meaning behind the track, but that is my primal association.
To sum everything up, the album is fantastic, you have to get a taste of that “Future Shock” yourself to truly see the picture I’m trying to paint in this short review!
- Future Shock
- Hop, Skip And Jump
- La Hermosa Noche
- Lights Of Home
- Memories Of You
- Poly Jam
- MIracle Mile
- Morning Song
- Your Eyes, Your Touch, Your Kiss