April 9, 2015
by Ric Albano
Buy From Now On
From Now On, is the latest studio album by the Long Island, New York based artist, Azwel. The album features mellow-toned compositions which use an array of instrumentation and approaches to forge this interesting and diverse record. The song arrangements range from standard acoustic rock with multiple guitars to avant garde pieces with piano and strings. All of this is the product of composer Jason Perrillo who has been the single, visionary member of the Azwel project for the better part of a decade and independently produced and released this album.
Perillo recorded the first Azwel album in 2003, with a sound that was originally more electronic based. Over time, Perillo added different instruments to his act and has consistently been prolific in composing and recording, releasing four full albums since 2010. These albums were recorded in Perillo’s home studio. The music draws from a plethora of influences ranging from rock to jazz to Brit pop to world influences.
Perillo also claims that he tries to make sure every instrument in his studio gets used. This impressive list includes electric and acoustic guitars, piano, Wurlitzer/Rhodes electric piano sounds, Hammond organ, harmonium, moog, mellotron, strings, trumpet, and flute. He also tries to be diverse in the feel of the songs, with a balanced selection of upbeat and downbeat songs.
|From Now On by Azwel|
|Released: August 1, 2014
Produced by: Jason Perrillo
|Track Listing||Primary Musicians|
|Alone in the Park
Out On a Limb
War Against Innovation
The Writing on the Wall
Don’t Take It for Granted
The Fifth of May
All the Things to Come
In a Desperate Way
Vocals, All Instrumentation
From Now On starts off with “Alone In the Park”, where Perrillo’s lyrics describe the scene vividly, including the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Musically, the song is a steady, acoustic-rocker with a few deviations during short, strategic phrases. The vocals are smooth and distant, yet carry a distinct and complex melody. “Out On a Limb” takes on a totally different vibe than the first track, more light and upbeat with a bouncy bass line. An interesting trumpet lead arrives later in the song.
“Convalescence” has a doomy piano set against an outdoor backdrop with some subtle strings for added effects. The track never relents from its dark feel, especially when some spoken vocals usher the song to its conclusion. The first song written for the album, Perrillo has cited “Convalescence” as his favorite song. Swinging the mood back the other way, “War Against Innovation” uses a choppy electric piano in the verses and a stronger rock arrangement in the choruses. A song of interesting changes and interesting subject as a lament to past eras of invention.
The heart of the album, the next four songs are probably the best on the record. “The Writing On the Wall” is pure Brit pop with some really cool keyboard effects, flavors, and leads. Complex, melodic arrangements blend seamlessly with the basic and steady strumming. “Don’t Take It for Granted” is a funky ballad, but still with a distinctly smooth and mellow feel. There is more rhythm presence here than on other tracks and the slight horns swell behind the pre-chorus, while the chorus contains impressive, soaring vocals. “The Fifth of May” is a driving rocker and may be the most accessible song pop-wise. However, even this straight-forward track contains some caveats in arrangement and approach. “All the Things to Come” is a mellow, pop-sounding piano track that almost sounds like an Eric Woolfson led Alan Parsons Project track.
“In a Desperate Way” concludes the album as a dark folk track, starting with a methodic acoustic and working its way into ever more deeper strings which carry the song as it and the album fade away.
Satisfied with the quality of From Now On, Perrillo doesn’t have any immediate plans for another Azwel album. Still, there is no doubt he will continue to make music in some capacity, as he has a long history of collaborating and performing with other artists in between past projects. His philosophy is simple; “take your art as far as you can.”