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Go to the Estradasphere website  Estradasphere - It's Understood [Web Of Mimicry - 2000]

"It's Understood" is the debut album from the band Estradasphere, the five crazy musicians from Santa Cruz, California. To call Estradasphere a band would however be a severe understatement, musically speaking. I know of only one group of artists that can melt so many musical styles together, and do it good too, and that's Estradasphere.

Can you imagine a band that combines jazz, metal, classical, gypsy folk, oriental and a lot of other styles without exaggerating? Probably not, but Estradasphere sure knows how to do that. Happy sounding saxophone arrangements are varied by spontaneous outbursts of metal, gypsy folk to sing along with and weird parts that end up pretty hilarious and amusing. But apart from that, it's simply good music. Not some sort of pretentious attempt to mix as much different musical styles as possible, rather the contrary. The band members play just what they like. And they make no secret of their love of Super Mario / Nintendo tunes either, since some are played on the album.

These guys just love their instruments and you can hear that. Take David Murray for example, who is performing the drums and percussion. You can clearly hear that he likes to go mad in front of his drum kit, producing incredible drum solos and fast parts of which the average metal drummer would get jealous. These guys must have invested an enormous amount of time to reach this virtuosity displayed on their instruments, or they simply have to be the most talented musicians in the world...

Compared to the albums that followed later, there are some obvious differences. First thing is that most of the tracks on "It's Understood" are instrumental. Occasionally, some vocals are used, but those are mostly death metal grunts and screams in the harder parts of the songs. We do not hear that lovely Beach Boys alike singing very often, and that's a pity. Secondly, the production on this debut album isn't on the same level as it is now. Especially in the metal parts the guitars sound a bit flattened and sketchy unfortunately, but it is actually nothing to worry about. It might not as sound great as on "Buck Fever" or "The Silent Elk Of Yesterday", but it's still very good.

"It's Understood" is unmistakeably a not-to-miss album for the open-minded music lover, and certainly for the Estradasphere-fan. Ok, 75 minutes might be too long if you do not like jazz that much but even then you should try it. Nonetheless "Buck Fever" is the album I would recommend to start with if you were not familiar yet with this band.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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