Sometimes, there comes along a band that will completely blow your mind. Very rarely, but you become astounded by the sheer, undisputed talent of the musicians, almost to a point of jealousy. You’ll come across a few albums in your lifetime which are just bizarre and complex, and by the end of the album, you’re left scratching your head, thinking to yourself “What did I just listen to?”, stuck in a trance of surprise, that leaves you really, really sad that you’re not going to be anywhere near that good of an instrumentalist. For the first time since Detestor by Humanity’s Last Breath, I’ve found that feeling with Bangladeafy’s debut album, Ribboncutter.
I should have probably gotten used to this by now, but I’m (almost) always completely blown away by instrumental progressive projects (cough The Omnific cough), and American based two piece Prog band Bangladeafy. Bassist John Ehlers has been described by some of the top musicians in our industry as “one of the best bassists in decades”, and after your first listen of Ribboncutter, you begin to understand WHY. Joined together with drummer Atif Haq, who is just as talented in songwriting and playing, you get one of the world’s top 2 piece Prog projects.
Coming down to a short 21 minutes over 10 tracks, don’t let it catch you by surprise or deter you from Ribboncutter. Even though the album’s tremendously short, each song has its own little vibe, and it will take you at least 5-6 listens to at least understand what the hell’s going on, I can almost guarantee it’s going to impress you on every listen. You’d think a band with constant monochromatic changes and incredibly refined polyrhythms would eventually get dull and uninteresting, but Bangladeafy have mastered their work, bring you back time and time again to cope and piece together the concept, story and raw musicianship the duo present.
Beginning in the true progressive fashion, “Prisoner Swamp” very accurately portrays what Bangladeafy are all about. Reminding me a little bit of The Dillinger Escape Plan, the duo start the track off with an incredibly insane hook, bass slaps and a time signature that throws you off from the moment it begins. Dealing with smooth and very interesting transitions, “Prisoner Swamp” creates an accurate representation of what to expect with the rest of Ribboncutter, filled with jazz-like influences, dreamy keyboard hooks and disorderly tempos that will leave your brain hurting.
Lets talk about “Seaplane”, the 10th and final track on the album. Through this song alone, you can see that Ehlers and Haq have some of the most insane chemistry as a band I have ever come across. Closing off the mind boggling album in the most ridiculous way possible, Ehlers utilizes techniques he’s learnt from observing instrumentalists such as Tosin Abasi, most notably his “Infinite Regression” thumb slapping technique, and he NAILS IT. While Ehlers is going off and having the most ultimate shred off with himself, Haq does a phenomenal job of keeping up with Ehlers, with only the most intricate of beats and utter chaos, to a point where you start to doubt whether it’s real or not.
American based instrumental duo Bangladeafy’s upcoming debut album, Ribboncutter, is an ultra-complex, progressive and completely mental release that will have instrumentalists and fans alike sweating for more. You don’t have to be an absolute music nerd to completely appreciate Bangladeafy and their incredible talent, but musicians and instrumentalists alike will be left scratching their heads, and the occasional few left with a hurting head at the sheer thought of this band. Go listen to this album immediately.