Marco Benevento

Marco Benevento — Swift (September 16, 2014)

USA Flag                Marco Benevento — Swift 
Γ¬   Co je nejvíce příjemně překvapující na albu, jsou Beneventovy prevalence–vokály. Nejvíce vzrušující číslo na albu je “Coyote Hearing”. Marco Benevento, jeden z nejznámějších klávesáků stylu jam–band, zpěv jakoby objevil. Swift je sice jeho páté album, ale teprve první naplněné zpěvem, kde zároveň představuje své vlastní texty a zajímavou směs jazzu a elektroniky.
Γ¬   Album bylo nahráno v Oregonu ve studiu indie-rockového producenta jménem Richard Swift, proto ten název.
Γ¬   Teď už není cesty zpět, Benevento reflektuje na svůj vlastní vývoj jako zpěváka a textaře. Konečně to, co slyšíme v skladbách jako “Witchs Of Ulster” a “Coyote Hearing”, je právě to, co posluchači od Beneventa očekávají. Krásné album.
Born: July 22, 1977 in Livingstone, NJ
Location: New York City
Album release: September 16, 2014
Record Label: Royal Potato Family
Duration:     38:38
01 At The Show     5:03
02 If I Get To See You At All     4:14
03 Witchs Of Ulster     5:55
04 Eye To Eye     4:08
05 Coyote Hearing     3:47
06 One And One Is Two     4:29
07 The Saint     4:03
08 No One Is To Blame     3:14
09 Free Us All     3:49
Γ¬   Marco Benevento keyboards, voice
Γ¬   Dave Dreiwitz bass
Γ¬   Andy Borger drums
Γ¬   Katie Benevento Artwork
Γ¬   Marco Benevento Composer, Drum Machine, Keyboards, Piano, Producer, Vocals
Γ¬   Andy Borger Drums, Percussion
Γ¬   Gregory J. Del Deo Design
Γ¬   Dave Driewitz Bass
Γ¬   Baptiste Ihar Design, Layout
Γ¬   Fred Kevorkian Mastering
Γ¬   Rosie Kirincic Vocals
Γ¬   Dan Ramirez Live Sound
Γ¬   Richard Swift Engineer, Producer, Vocals
Γ¬   Jeff Volckhausen Lighting
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ***½
Γ¬   After 2012's TigerFace, it was only a question of time before keyboard wizard Marco Benevento recorded an indie rock album. That set included two tunes in that vein, "Limbs of a Pine" and "This Is How It Goes." Swift is the record he had to make, right now. He not only goes for broke as a composer and instrumentalist, but as a singer and songwriter. The set is titled for producer Richard Swift (Foxygen, Damien Jurado), who helmed these sessions. Benevento enlisted Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz and session drummer Andy Borger as bandmates, with producer Richard Swift and Rosie Kirincic on backing vocals. This mix is busy, full of cloudy textures, hooky melodies, and loads of reverb and echo. The playing vibe is loose and the production's elastic, spacy effects add to that. Opener "At the Show" is a dancefloor jam with a twist: it marries the wonky lyricism of Harry Nilsson to the Tom Tom Club's slippery early-'80s groove complete with infectious handclaps. The slightly spooky syn–organ intro on "Witches of Ulster" is almost dubwise, but Dreiwitz's fantastic post–psych fuzztone adds a Flaming Lips–esque rock & roll dynamic while clattering snares and kick drums flood the middle. But in Benevento fashion, he employs a shambolic honky tonk piano to create a far–off melody as his vocals evoke romantic reverie, and it hangs together effortlessly. "If I Get to See You at All" employs analog synths, acoustic piano, a nearly monotonous rhythm, and Dreiwitz's fat, grooving fuzz. The stacked choral vocals and warm, decorous melody evoke the avant-pop feel of Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets. "Eye to Eye" rumbles into being via snare breaks, a droning bass, and a Mellotron slightly disguised as a harpsichord. Piano and thunderous drum rolls deliver a crescendo that belies the melancholy, yet contains a clamorous snare–tom–tom rock beat under a swirling keyboard vamp and pulsing bassline, and reflects a listen or two to Tame Impala's "Innerspeaker." "The Saint"'s intro is an amphetamine–drenched vamp, with a perversely distorted bass that recalls Suicide until Benevento shifts it all with a pumping acoustic piano (assisted by Mellotron'ed strings) that is nearly full–on rave-up rock. "No One Is to Blame" is a woozy, downer ballad, but its sonic reach is just as wide and the pianism is utterly fantastic. Benevento may not be a conventionally great singer, but he's excellent here. Γ¬   His voice and lyrics are framed attentively by his producer's crowded, ambitious mix. But Benevento's undeniable, unwavering ability to create instantly recognizable melodies and hooks inside unique arrangements is the focal point. On first listen, Swift is easily accessible yet very blurry. With repeated spins, as craft, emotion, and imagination commingle, it artfully comes into focus. (
Γ¬   Marco Benevento, one of the best-known keyboard players on the jam-band circuit, has discovered vocals. On Swift, his fifth solo recording, Benevento is releasing his first album filled with songs featuring his lyrics and singing atop his blend of jazz–electronic colors and grooves. The album was recorded in Oregon at indie–rock producer Richard Swift's studio, hence its name. In this audio portrait, Benevento reflects on developing as a vocalist and lyricist, and why there's no turning back.
by Wesley Hodges on September 12, 2014
Γ¬   With Swift, the always intrepid and imaginative Marco Benevento continues to blaze an uncompromising and continuously inspired trail with each record. The album title is both a nod to its producer Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen) and an illustrative way of describing Benevento’s steadily frenetic touring and recording pace over the last decade. On his albums with the Benevento–Russo Duo and his early solo releases, including 2010’s moody and exquisite Between the Needles and Nightfall, Benevento completely shied away from vocal music, but the keyboardist did recruit a few guest singers for 2012’s more upbeat TigerFace. With Swift’s opening track “At The Show,” Benevento finally takes a stab at lead vocals himself, and the welcomed result is an earthy and lived–in delivery — reminiscent of Michael Houser’s inviting, Sunday afternoon singing style. On the dystopic “Witches Of Ulster” and the dreamy pocket symphony “No One Is to Blame,” Benevento’s voice is cloaked in a distant–but–not–overwhelming reverb, settled deeper in the mix to magnify the track’s notably intricate production value. The most exhilarating number on the record is the instrumental “Coyote Hearing” — a confident and cerebral composition showcasing bassist Dave Dreiwitz’s vital role in Benevento’s band. Swift delivers yet another lush and wizardly textured multitude of tracks, cohesively bound by an instantly familiar and fully developed new sound.
Shane McFarland (@mcfarlands412)
Γ¬   After listening to Marco Benevento's latest LP effort, Swift, it is unmistakable that the keyboardist has added to his vast arsenal since his last solo album, TigerFace. What's most pleasantly surprising about the album is the prevalence of Benevento's vocals. This time around, Benevento solicited the expertise of producer Richard Swift, who has worked with artists that include Damien Jurado, The Shins, and Foxygen. The finished product: a harmonious blend of signature Benevento soundscapes and sonic permutations amid deep, resonating lyrics.
Γ¬   The jump off to the album, "At The Show," is a catchy, danceable number that showcases Benevento's strong rhythm section of former Ween bassist Dave Drewitz and drummer Andy Borger. With a Daft Punk–esque feel to the open of Swift, Benevento sets the bar very high for the rest of the way. He does not dissapoint.
Γ¬   Melodic tracks like "Witches Of Ulster" and "Coyote Hearing" are what listeners have come to expect from Benevento. The textures the mad scientist supplies via his array of keyboards and snyths transport the listener into a colorful realm of sound that very few other artists are able to engage. This is what makes Swift such a fun listen. It has an equilibrium of light and shade, and nicely exhibits Benevento's talents as both a great player and songwriter.
Γ¬   The final few driving tracks, "One And One Is Two," "No One Is To Blame," and "Free Us All," though varying in tone, dynamics, and tempo, hammer home that Benevento has turned a page onto a new chapter of his solo career, one that will likely see him grow as a singer and songwriter; although it's unlikely he will diverge too far from the great instrumental pieces he has come to be known for. Had they all been strictly instrumental tracks, it would have still worked, but fans will now have more to look forward to with Benevento opening up and expressing himself now not only through his exquisite compositions, but through his words now, too.
Artist Biography by Stewart Mason
Γ¬   Marco Benevento is a keyboardist whose jazz-rooted work has expanded to include indie rock, jam band, and post–rock/experimental influences. Born in 1977 and raised in the northern New Jersey town of Livingston, Benevento studied piano and befriended an aspiring drummer named Joe Russo in a junior–high detention hall. After high school, while Russo migrated westward to Boulder, Colorado, and fell into the hippie jam band scene there, the more jazz–inclined Benevento moved to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music, from which he graduated in 1999 after studying keyboards under noted jazz pianist and instructor Joanne Brackeen. Following college, Benevento formed a popular Boston–area improvisational outfit called the Jazz Farmers, which continued when Benevento resettled in New York City in 2001. Running into his old junior–high buddy Russo at a Medeski, Martin & Wood gig, Benevento accepted an invitation to perform a series of duo gigs at the Knitting Factory, which turned into a full–time partnership as the Benevento/Russo Duo. Benevento released four albums with Russo: Benevento/Russo Duo, Darts, Best Reason to Buy the Sun, and Play Pause Stop. Tying into Russo's roots in the jam band scene, the duo also spent much of 2006 touring as half of former Phish leader Trey Anastasio's backing band.
Γ¬   In 2007, Benevento began a live residency at the New York club Tonic, which led to the August 2007 release of Live at Tonic, a three–CD set taken from those shows that ranges from traditional small–combo jazz to post–rock/experimental soundscapes. Γ¬   Benevento signed to Hyena Records and released Invisible Baby in 2008 with bassist Reed Mathis (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Tea Leaf Green) and drummers Andrew Barr (the Slip) and Matt Chamberlain. It was followed by Me Not Me on Royal Potato Family in 2009 with the same players. Benevento recorded 2010's Between the Needles & Nightfall for Royal Potato Family with Mathis and Barr. The album was tracked at Brooklyn's Trout Studio with engineer Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Akron/Family). Benevento promoted the recording by taking the trio on the road, playing club dates and festivals in the United States and Canada. TigerFace, his next studio album, utilized a wide range of players. It was produced by Tom Biller and Goggin, and released in September of 2012.
Γ¬   After extensive touring and a brief rest, Benevento returned to the recording studio with his trio — bassist Dave Dreiwitz and drummer Andy Borger — and producer Richard Swift. For the first time, he decided to sing on one of his records. Inspired by everyone from LCD Soundsystem to David Bowie to My Bloody Valentine, he wrote a series of outre pop songs and collaborated on lyrics with Ween's Aaron Freeman. Swift was released in September of 2014.

Marco Benevento