My thanks to Paul Colto for keeping me in the loop.
In my time writing this blog, really getting in the trenches and researching music and a wide range of artists, the artists that I have really come to admire the most are the truly independent artists. These artists, who do not have the support (or the corporate fedders) that comes with the support of a major label, continue to produce music that is often under the radar of most music aficionados. The Android Angel, the brainchild of Paul Colto, falls into this category. I need to be upfront … I reviewed Android Angel’s “Glow Worm” (link), and a few e-mails later followed up the review with an interview (link). While Colto was visiting Brooklyn, he was crazy … that is kind enough to sit down with Mirage and conduct a small interview on camera and perform his song “Hey” in McCarren Park (link). While we walked about in Wililamsburg, down Bedford Avenue, Colto confided that during his time in New York City he was composing his upcoming album. “Marble Sun” (6 June 2011) is the culmination of his time spent in New York City, and with a touch of his Surrey sensibility and New York influence, “Marble Sun” is a beautiful collection of ten songs that reminds us that our every day experiences, which we often take for granted, can be some of the most grandiose moments of our lives.
Inviting you into the oasis of the album is “Long Meadow,” a tribute to Prospect Park – one of New York City’s oases in Brooklyn where one can take a break from the hectic urban existence. For those of us who are familiar with New York City, track-to-track, we are invited to experience and/or reconsider once again what has become familiar and hackneyed, ignored and taken for granted. Though I typically use the Williamsburg Bridge, the track “Brooklyn Bridge” is an ode on a world icon. Here, Colto uses the imagery of the bridge to represent a moment of transcending from the normal everyday to new experiences: “untold scenes lie in wait for me.” And it is an apt metaphor for the listener: as we listen to Colto’s impressions, we experience what we have taken for granted anew. And for those who have never experienced New York, as you listen you are invited to experience a new world from the eyes of an outsider.
I rarely believe in the authenticity of a lyricist’s point of view; I cannot imagine or believe that every song written by any artist is about their own experiences, as opposed to having been inspired by the narratives of others, literature, films, etc… “Marble Sun,” however, is one of the few albums that the authenticity is simply not questionable. Other than “Brooklyn Bridge,” all of the songs were written while Colto was in New York City for a few weeks. “Toodle Pip” (my favorite track on the album) is his impression of Bryant Park, where the nearby “buildings touch the sky,” realizing towards the end of his trip that he will be leaving soon. And of course, his love letter to New York City, “Oh My Love,” is heartfelt when he promises that “there will come a time when I will come back to you, hold you and love you as mine.” But it is not just the lyrics that are authentic … even the music breathes authenticity. Take the manic “Slippers” – the music symbolically represents the frenzy of The Avenue of the Americas. It is not often that we consider connecting music as a means of describing topography, but Colto does it beautifully.
And speaking about the music, the album easily streams through rock to savvy pop to introspective acoustic. Though I love the lusciously arranged layers in the rock songs, it is the acoustic songs that really have stolen my heart; Colto has a natural talent to strum that acoustic guitar. Like the prior album, “Glow Worm,” “Marble Sun” is emotionally bare … this is music that is not just meant be heard and enjoyed, but also felt and pondered on. And anyone who has ever traveled (like myself coin tossing at the Trevi Fountain) will relate to this album – falling in love with a foreign city, to see it beyond the jadedness of the natives, and appreciating something that you are leaving behind. Furthermore, this third album continues to build on what The Android Angel has built: regardless if the track employed bigger or smaller arrangements than the last time, his ability to stir the visceral is greater. His consciousness as an artist in a larger world has grown. And the overall quality of his craftsmanship has matured and continues to develop, while flirting with new ideas. Leave it to Paul Colto, The Android Angel, to produce an album that really makes you reconsider everything else you have listened to earlier in the year.
1. Long Meadow
3. Call the Curator
4. Lafayette Bloomed Violet
5. Photographers or Ball Players
6. Brooklyn Bridge
7. Toddle Pip
8. Oh My Love
9. La Orana Maria
10. Concealed Reveal
Keep up with The Android Angel at their homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Head over to the their Bandcamp page where you can preview and purchase “Marble Sun” (hint, do this ASAP!).
Here is The Android Angel’s video for “Brooklyn Bridge” from the deadbycinemafilms YouTube Channel.