Telepath: Contact

By: Alex Borsody

Telepath is a fairly new band out of Philadelphia by way of North Carolina, who has been getting attention with their unique combination of traditional and futuristic music. Telepath synthesizes Eastern and Western culture to create holistic, enchanting songs.

This album contains a laundry list of different instruments from Asia to America, including keyboards, accordion, flute, sax, trumpet, dotar, sarangi, violin, trombone, shaker and computer generated elementals. I’m not going to Google all those instruments for you, but the exotic sounds will make you want to look them up yourself.

In this digital, post-packaging age, it’s nice to see attention given to album artwork. The album cover art done by Carl Bender is a collage done with modern graphic design techniques. The design pieces together iconic imagery from India, including a sadhu, a rhino, a monkey and a small, cramped, three wheeled automobile overflowing with about 13 passengers.

Telepath is starting to make themselves known at festivals and among fans of live electronica as they carve their own niche in live music. The loose knit music scene that makes up live electronica has gotten recognition from NYC to Tokyo for live performances of ambient, electronic dance music, which combine DJ equipment and traditional rock instruments. Telepath sets themselves apart from other live electronica bands by incorporating indigenous and ethnic sounds. Contact (Telepath Music) is one complete work of art, with songs that segue seamlessly into each other. There is a huge variety of sounds on this album, which serves the intent stated on the liner notes, to preserve a “spirit of unity.” The diversity of instruments on the album reinforces this broadminded worldview.

This band has everything it takes to be the next big thing in electronic live music, the most important being the music itself. Telepath has a mellow, melodic way of playing together that can only be compared to some of Sound Tribe Sector 9‘s most impressive performances. The song structures layer phrase upon phrase, with the masterful production skill of a veteran DJ. On Contact, Telepath constructs, quality compositions, drawing influences from both the best DJs and live bands. “Toward Peace” is one of these soothing, melodic songs that the band specializes in. The track starts off with a catchy synth loop and then tribal drums are layered on top, followed by a unique bassline and elementals. Sequential loops of sounds, including soothing flutes are added, until the song takes off and then slowly cools down. The song feels like it’s breathing as it slowly rocks you.

2008 was an exciting year for Telepath with impressive performances at Camp Bisco and Trinumeral. From the time they emerged on the national scene at the Echo Project, this band has rapidly won fans. Telepath gives the live music patron what they need with soothing, upbeat, danceable music that fits in just as well at a club as it does at a rock music festival or a spiritual retreat.

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