Written By: Ethan Griggs
My Music: ethangriggsmusic.virb.com
Jeremy Powell’s newest release is hard to categorize. Having released music under other monikers in the past, including his own name, Powell’s first release as Auterkeia, a self-titled EP, is a stunning fragment of music that owes as much to Western electronic as it does to World music. Powell utilizes his uncanny musicianship to create a global portrait of synthetic textures; he’s playing flutes, clarinets, saxophones, making beats, and acting as the mixer and mastering engineer on the project. According to Powell himself, “The music I made for this EP was heavily inspired by the World Music groups that I was playing with when I moved back to NYC in the fall of 2013.”
Auterkeia is a worldly venture, indeed. The EP Is full of exotic arrangements that sound like the listener is traversing their way through a jungle of woodwinds. Rather than using the saxophone as a lead instrument, which is its usual place, Powell chooses to create exciting sonic backdrops with the instrument while saving his clarinet and flute for most of the melodic work. This gives off the vibe of Jethro Tull if Ian Anderson never learned how to talk, albeit Auterkeia is a more exotic project than JT ever was considered to be.
The opening track “Mapfuno” creates a mission statement for the EP. With its churning and chiming marimbas and soft and sweet woodwinds, Powell creates a misty, jungle-like set up for what will occur over the next twenty five minutes. He does a really great job joining the synthetic and the actual through the marriage of synths and saxes. The following track, “Piano”, consists of just that and much more, accompanied by the trap beat that sounds like it was made in the Amazon.
On “Radar”, Powell creates a steady syncopation with his arsenal of exotic instruments. Bells, marimbas, saxes, flutes, clarinets – everything shines through on this track. “ct 1925” is a bit more up-front about its modernness, dropping a sick beat over the chorus of woodwinds.By the time the EP’s closer, “Bb” comes around, the listener has taken a tour of the strange and exotic sounds inside Powell’s mind. The title of the track is fitting, as it is the tonic of the song. On his first EP as Auterkeia, Jeremy Powell has proven that his blend of world and hip-hop is beyond satisfactory. Hopefully he’s able to throw some vocals into the mix on his next release under the project.