Featured Recording: GrayScale Whale
Afro-Alien Encounter was originally recorded in 2014 on our sophomore album Beyond Aphelion, a concept album which follows the story of a space traveler who unknowingly flies into a trans-dimensional wormhole. The traveler awakes on the bizarre and unfamiliar desert of an unknown planet, surrounded by impossible to describe beings looking down at him, similarly perplexed by the protagonist’s appearance. They guide him towards a nearby civilization, trudging through the alien sands until they finally reach the foreign planet’s civilization where they party with other alien beings. This encounter is the basis of this song.
Like most of our repertoire, Afro-Alien Encounter was collectively written. The first progression consists of two sections, one composed entirely of major seven chords and the other consisting of a mixture of minor and major tonalities. This section is played over a faux-Latin style with funk undertones, creating a groovy and unfamiliar atmosphere. After the last statement of the melody, a spacey development section consisting of open, ambiguous chords from guitar and sporadic, angular interjections from saxophone begins. This indicates the transition from the outskirts of the alien civilization to the inner-city area. The bass begins laying down chords in 3/4. Treating the 4:3 polyrhythm as the new pulse, the drums come in playing an easy beat, creating a whole new tempo and atmosphere. This transitions directly into a Latin-based drum solo following the first section’s structure. The sound drops once again after a decisive cue from the drums. This time, the band launches into a “Get on Up” style funk groove that closes out the song indicating our protagonist getting in to and getting down with the local alien dance scene.
This song was recorded at On Pop of the World Studios in Greensboro, NC on December 14th, 2017. We had been out for winter break and were able to get together for rehearsals and new-material writing after the semester ended at each of our universities just before this recording. The instrumentation is tenor saxophone (Nick VanBuskirk), electric guitar (Logan Butler), 6-String Electric Bass (Kevin Beardsley), and drum set (Alex Hornaday).
We are looking for gigs in the triangle area, both for our original music and straight-ahead jazz and would love to work with local newspapers/magazines to get some press coverage.