There aren't many bands in the city of New York that still use traditional instruments and vintage recording modules. Shock Radar is the exception. Their latest release, The Purist, mixes an assortment of genres but first and foremost, it rocks. The Purist goes in new directions sonically and lyrically. Without completely reinventing the band’s signature sound, these songs lean toward the electronic side of their music, opposed to the wall to wall guitar rock they are known for live. It’s a combination of ambient instrumental segments and metal inspired riff rock. Lead singer/songwriter Lee Diamond explains the recording process-
“The tracks were recorded over a 3 month period at different studios and mixed all together at Emandee, what we call home base. With the addition of the Moog synthesizer, I was able to find new sounds and stay in the realm of analog recording without over-processing any individual instrument. I find most new music is bound to presets and processed through computers way too often. All of the tracks were initially recorded to analog reels and mixed without any added effects through a vintage board, then directly to mastering. If we wanted reverb or delay, we used microphones placed in odd positions around the room. By process of elimination and experimentation, the end result sounds more interesting than ever. That’s where the title ‘Purist’ comes from.”
The band’s previous release Systematic and the single “Live Like Lions” are critically acclaimed and feature guest appearances by members of The Lilys, The Swirlies and Maroon 5. The Purist is mostly a collaboration of studio engineer Mark Ospovat and Lee Diamond.
“I figured, I’ve done the live band in-studio thing before. And I’ve also recorded albums myself, but for this one, I needed another ear, someone to block me from my self indulgences. If I had done everything myself, this could have taken a lot longer, and would have sounded nothing like the eventual release. Mark helped keep it a rock and roll EP, where as I may have gone off in a completely ambient direction devoid of anything commercial. I tend to do that when I’m locked up in a studio alone.”
There are traces of previous Shock Radar songs in the new material, but coated with a techno edge. This is music for the open minded, the visionaries, nothing predictable about it. The music may be ahead of its time, but “The Purist” fits quite well in the band’s discography. When asked what the next logical step for the band would be, Diamond replied-
“A collaboration with Daft Punk? My 3-D goggles are waiting...”
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