On February 20, Vapeism will drop their debut album, entitled Vaped Out Vol.1. The Brooklyn-based power trio, made up of Andy Berman on guitar, Brian Vinson on upright bass, and drummer Dan Nadeau, amalgamates elements of funk, rock, and jazz into an avant-garde, supercharged sound I call fusion-shred. Technically demanding, it features complexly intricate guitar and bass solos, as well as constantly shifting drums.
Prompted by Bruce Lee’s maxim, “Be formless, like water making its way through cracks,” the band decided to take the name Vapeisim. “We’re the vapor version of Bruce Lee’s water philosophy. We can go anywhere and penetrate molecules,” explains Vinson.
The band’s musical background is astonishing, giving them maximum credibility. Berman and Nadeau attended the Berklee School of Music on scholarships, later moving to New York where they established their bona fides on the jazz circuit. Hailing from Kentucky, Vinson played with Days of the New, a platinum-selling Louisville grunge band with a series of number one singles. After jamming together in Brooklyn, the trio took the next step, forming a band.
Blogcritics had the opportunity to listen to four tracks from the forthcoming album. “Vapeism” rides a cool funky fusion melody rife with potent throbbing bass colors and stellar guitar licks. Berman’s touch on his axe is delicate yet blazing, with sonic pyrotechnical allusions and elaborate phrasings. The slapping bassline, tricky and convoluted, combined with the syncopated drums, oozes a rhythm pulsing with Jovian muscle.
“Get Me Back Home Blues” delivers a funky jazz melody with filaments of blues and R&B hidden underneath. Berman’s slick guitar work reminds me of Tommy Bolin on Billy Cobham’s classic ’70s fusion album, Spectrum. His virtuosity on the axe is nonpareil, emanating scorching hues and unrelenting vitality. And when the music descends to simmering levels, the bottomless bass assumes an aura of lethal expertise.
“LMNOP” features an elastic stuttering fusion melody exuding a frenetic energy. The guitar spits out rapid-fire, lickety-splitly sparkles of pigmentation, while the bassline and drums deliver a wildly furious rhythm bordering on chaotic but never slipping over the edge into the realm of untidy. Vinson’s drumming is impervious to reason, arguing adamantly with flamboyant flair.
“Train Song” presents a smoother, glossier fusion jazz melody that ramps up ferociously into multi-hued harmonics sizzling with coloration and texture. Berman’s guitar takes on a wickedly dirty tone, giving the tune a deliciously muddy flavor. This is my favorite tune of the four because of the flow between austere flavors and revelatory radiance.
Vapeism has it going on! The fusion melodies shimmer with persuasive colors, while the musicianship balances between tender intimacy and erupting atomic explosions. If you’re into stylish fusion jazz, don’t miss Vaped Out Vol. 1.