“If music is from the heart then it will carry no impurity, this would mean that music can’t be misused to fulfil any self-threatening intention, as the heart will never contradict itself, Negative intention surely arises from the delusions of one’s thoughts for it is only in one’s ‘knowing’ that springs truth.” -VonJ
There is a truth to spirit and a spirit to truth, and that is what you take away from Ruach, the latest CD from VonJ. It kicks off with “Out Of The Mire” which has a cool tribal beat fade-intro. Once it cooks up you know it’s on. The guitar starts to boil along with it and you feel like you’re listening to either Santana in the late 60s, or the equivalent. But there are some harmonics applied that bring it into the twenty first century before some further bombast brings some vocals into it, and everything dies down into some sweet acoustic notes before it’s over. It is a pretty awesome opener to get you going, but it doesn’t stop there with this dynamic multi-instrumental wizard. “Skin Deep” proves to rock hard as well, with even more soul because the vocals step right up and impress. And this one features killer guitar and bass solos. These guys have some serious cops that must be further explored. It is a fantastic unison display before going back into the vocal chorus, which just repeats the top little a few more times. There are a lot of tracks on this album, and only so much review space, but these two pump up the whole set with fury as the rock and swing with funky swagger. They simply can’t be denied as the epic tracks they are, but this CD goes in several directions.
The jazzier side of things kick in on “I’m Coming Back” which gets into some great jazz guitar and sax interplay. It also manages to go in other directions as well. This is an amazing piece to say the least. It’s about coming back to shock the world. A very progressive number that sort of ends without warning and contains very little vocals, not unlike the first track but in another musical galaxy.An out of sight one, at that. You just can’t set it down after this. It is not something you get every day. The musicianship is impeccable, but the arrangements loose without being sloppy.
Other tracks like “Lady Night” are of the slower pace with more poetic lyrics, while “Trails OfEldoret” bring out more Spanish guitar and very spiritual feelings. You get that same feeling with the coolness of “River Nun” as well, with its hauling horn and crashing cymbals. You get the feeling you’re both inside and outside on this, as it holds some esoteric lyrics, a liquid bass line and some searing guitars. It pulls no punches, as does most of the disc. You can’t help but get swept up into this if you’re really a music lover of all types from mellow to hard rock, world and even some new age and spoken word, where it borders on defying categories. If none of that works, you’re wired to the wrong device, as this is no swift show, it is a long player that will please without question, as long as that is your thing. And it can bring out the soul lover in any rocker and the rock lover in any soul, funk and world music lover alike. It has everything from the lighthearted guitar of “Experience,” to the upbeat and inspiring “Nu-Times.” The use of all instrumental effects are applied with clever skill to make a sonically gratifying release that I’m sure holds up to Vonj works, so it should please anyone following as well as bring attention from whatever direction the wind blows it.
In-closing it is a great release, with the guitar being the strongest and the production being the weakest values, made up by some fantastic playing and singing by all and taking it out with a bold cover of “Superstition.”