Ben Kuzay - Stream of Consciousness
17 songs ()
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Joel
Ben Kuzay is a local Wisconsin multi-instrumentalist who has years of national touring experience in bands and as a solo instrumentalist. Speaking of instrumental cds, most of them are keyboard or guitar related regardless of genre. Mr. Kuzay’s release is actually bass guitar focused and gives you a unique spin to the whole instrumental music genre.
You would think after hearing the first song, House Of Black Light for the first two minutes was missing something like a guitar. Though with a real appreciate of what I am hearing, the song like many that follow has a true song structure. Ben is not trying to show off is virtuosic(though he definitely has it) talent with as many notes as he can hit, but he definitely hits plenty. Labyrinth is one of the best tracks on the entire disc, one I remembered when it was over. The guitar playing of Darin Moore equally matches the prowess of Kuzay’s bass playing as they exchange leads throughout the song. Next three songs take a different approach, with the focus back on Kuzay. Computer Takeover, is a trippy effects song, where the atmosphere plays a big part in its minimalistic approach. March of The Tulips, is a thirty second plus song with a classical approach to it, while Soular Flare has that ambience I mentioned on Computer Takeover. The funky rocking Drive is next, it has a really fun groove to the whole song, that implements different styles of bass playing. The keyboards/organ tone in the song, gives it a really cool late sixties early seventies vibe. Stargazer is another song that is focused just on Ben’s playing, and this one has a really melodic intro. The delay and reverb effects are used throughout the song, and it gives it an ethereal feel. String bends and vibratos are among the different techniques used in this song. After a short synth break the song picks up, not necessarily in speed but in feel and tone. Darkworld is just like its name, its a brooding song, which can seem long given its content. The Dark Cowboy, has a guest lead guitarist, Kirk Tatnall, who is very talented. Tatnall’s phrasing has an Eric Johnson, or Joe Satriani/Steve Vai style feel to it. When Kuzay takes the lead, his playing also builds on Tatnall’s playing. An Engulfing Spiral Fury first minute could be the bass version of Eruption or Flight Of The Bumblees at times,with Kuzay’s lightning fast playing. For the shorter under two minute songs, this is definitely my favorite. The Path To The Castle features Daniel Kuzay’s keyboard playing, which is classical based, with some very cool runs throughout its short two and a half minute plus length. Knight Song and Ethereal Sojourn, are the next two tracks, that continue the one faster bass shredding followed by a more ambient shorter track. The playing Knight Song, by this point does not come as a surprise, cause Kuzay has proven his ability. The keys of Ethereal Sojourn carry over to Stardust, with their bright almost bell sounding tone, over a driving mid tempo bassline. Love In The Sunshine of Youth almost feels guitar like, till you can hear the bass slide from note to note. This is a compliment, and while short songs are filled throughout the releases running time, this one stands out, cause no effects, just a simple bass melody, that is anything but simple sounding! Alone carries that previous song’s feel, and also throws in some effects for good measure. Retaliation follows the full band structure of the songs that opened the release, and its another well written song. Another guest musician, Jim Dofka, contributes a lead guitar solo, and this solo definitely shreds. Again just like the other full band songs on this disc, the solos fit the music, they aren’t designed to show off, and it definitely is a strength of these songs.

Ben Kuzay’s Stream Of Consciousness is a long instrumental release, which for me, was something I needed to give my full attention to, to appreciate every note that is being played. For some this may be way too long for an instrumental cd, for others that much bass playing without guitars, may not be something of interest. For those open minded listeners, or musicians looking for someone or something different to listen too, that still rocks, this could work for you. Is it the release, that all instrumental releases should be based on? No, not really, but is something unique, and far from the normal instrumental release.
Please check out HERE for more information about Ben, his bio, and touring dates, as well as samples to hear his music for yourself!
Killing Songs :
House Of Black Light, Labyrinth, Drive, Retaliation
Joel quoted 80 / 100
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