As a thank you for all pre-order of Unfamiliar Skies, Colouratura’s new CD will be shipped prior to the actual release date of May 17th 2018
About The Album
Unfamiliar Skies is not a ‘theme’ album or a concept album, though almost all of the songs flow from one into the next. A few themes do crop up, such as those of air and water (as the artwork suggests), the long and winding road, the obsession of a lover scorned and questions of faith and individuality.
Musically, we did want to capture something of the art rock vibe of XTC, early Alan Parsons Project, Frank Zappa, Bent Knee, 10cc, Cardiacs, Tears for Fears, Black Sabbath, and so on … while the work doesn’t particularly sound like any of those, great care was taken to follow the lessons we learned from studying these great artists. No moment was wasted on the final recording, and we worked hard to trim the fat to make something that hopefully engages the listener from stem to stern.
Nathan James – voice, keyboards, bass, horn
Ian Beabout – flute, editing, sound design and production
Featuring performances by
Pavlic (Van Gilder)
Eric Holskey (Sabo Cat, Plus Many Others)
Dave Newhouse (The Muffins, Diratz, Moonmen, Proletarians)
Damon Waitkus (Jack o’ the Clock)
Michael P. Dawson
Bret Harold Hart (Diratz, Moonmen)
1. Corner Store
A tale of seedy characters in the backdrop of a small-town convenience store. As read by the Blind Blue Barber Boys of Baltimore.
An epic, four movement suite blurring the lines of jazz, rock, progressive, ambient and punk rock. Themes of individuality in the face of the machine that is modernity. How do we keep true to ourselves?
Sometimes obsession boils to the brim. A Poe-ish tale of being haunted by the image of a former lover.
The one in which we battle the giant squid.
5. Unfamiliar Skies
Suburban heartbreak, and dreams of the stormy skies ahead.
On the road, and with a passenger. What do the rocks have to say?
7. Vesuvian Tidepools
The stuff kicks in – and we take a psychedelic head-trip
Questioning the ‘lines the blur the vision of God.’ Do we really have any of the answers?
Colouratura traverse an emotional journey on Unfamiliar Skies, charting the far reaches of rock, jazz, psychedelia, krautrock, folk, metal and electronic.
“With Unfamiliar Skies, the band definitely decided early on that they wanted to do something a bit more focused than the first album,” said producer Ian Beabout. “So a couple of decisions were made. For one, we wanted a more rhythm oriented work, so we made sure to use a more or less consistent rhythm section and tried to feature the bass, guitar and drums more.”
“We also wanted to highlight Nathan’s (James) skills as a composer, since so much of the previous effort was constructed via focused improvisation. Unfamiliar Skies is very deliberate, very calculated and very fully realized album,” Beabout said.
Utilizing local talent, Colouratura have crafted a powerful and modern art rock statement.
From the opening, multi-movement prog rock pastiche ‘Parallels’, Colouratura combine Zappa-esque guitar licks with horn-rock statements on a journey through territories of punk, ambient, and jazz, backed by Dave Newhouse’s gorgeous woodwind arrangements. On ‘Vesuvian Tidepools’, Colouratura craft a trippy, CAN-influenced soundscape around Eric Holskey’s drum loops, backed by Bret Harold Hart’s synesthesiac guitar. On the title track, James’ dreary and haunting lines are backed by expressive flute and ocarina. On ‘Kerouac’ James teams up with songwriter Chris Kuskey for a headtrip funk jam about traveling ‘on the road,’ while ‘Nautilus’ finds Colouratura in deeply groovy Black Sabbath meets King Crimson territory with dizzying time changes and ripping lead guitar from Derek Pavlic.
“It’s always a fun challenge to see just how far we can push the definition of what Colouratura can and should and will be,” composer Nathan James said. “I like to push my own limits and comfort zones as a writer.”
What’s being said about Unfamiliar Skies
“The sophomore offering from West Virginia-based Colouratura is comfortably familiar and yet surprisingly fresh. My impressions run from prog rock inspried moments ala Zappa or King Crimson (I even flashed on Camel at one point) to the art-rock of artists like Todd Rundgren, XTC or Brian Eno, but every listener will likely have a different experience because, like all great singer/songwriters, Nathan James has absorbed a plethora of influences and internalized those lessons to bring life to his creations. “Unfamiliar Skies” is a diverse and satisfying listen from beginning to end.” – Steve Roberts (Ut Gret, ZNR Records)
By combining a large variety of styles while maintaining a recognizable sound throughout the album, we can safely declare that the band succeeded in reaching the ultimate goal: creating music for music’s sake.” – Jacopo Muneratti (Danze D’Architettura, Radio Voce nel Deserto)