IQ-Local Magazine – Solipsism Album Review

Albuquerque band Left Brain is living, local proof that striking originality, flawless musical textures and a refusal to concede to conventional music approaches are not just illusory anecdotes of the epitomized act. For nearly five years, the group has remained of the city’s most favored outfits and after recently parting ways with former-vocalist Tristin Rogers, Left Brain has chosen to stick to a fully instrumental approach, a risky but practical decision that will surely pay off.

“We have been ‘vocal-less’ for a good part of the year.” said guitarist John Allen in a recent interview with Local iQ. “We decided to continue playing music (after splitting with Rogers), acting as an instrumental band, and that takes either stupidity or the drive to continue playing. The audiences have taken well to it, so that’s why we’ve continued to go forth with this album.”

After receiving so much praise from audiences, opting to maintain a “vocal-less” sound seems like the most logical idea. And at this point, their credible innovation shines. Now, with the release of its third album, Solipsism, Left Brain takes a new philosophical, inner-self seeking approach, which prompts a story-like feel throughout each track. The aim of the album, according to Allen, is a therapeutic, intense experience of life energies and, “a deep investigation of an inner emotional world.”

Although it is not easy to categorize Left brain into a specific assembly of genres, it does possess a number of elements that help describe the music. When one thinks of modern metal, the notion of constant screaming seems to surface before anything else, but the progressively tangible work of Left Brain sparks a psychedelic feel complemented by a bi-polar mix of emotions. “The songs on the album are often stories unfolding, situations arising – sometimes going from bad to worse – but not without the expression of some sort of resolution, catharsis or lesson learned.” Allen said.

After several lineup changes, the current members of Left Brain include Allen, Bassist Michael “Dr. Thunda” Clifford and drummer Giann Rubio. Together, they have solidified their place in the local music scene, having garnered two New Mexico Music Awards, numerous nominations and recognition in Weekly Alibi’s Best of Burque 2007 – second place for “Best Metal Band” and third place for “Best New/Emerging Band.”

The trio plans to release and promote Solipsism in a way that will make it more accessible to everyone. Since the availability of music today is so convenient, and nearly anyone can obtain an album by purchasing it or not, Left brain has decided to ship different tracks around for promotion, even if the track only contains on instrument.

“An idea that we want to do is to actually get the individual tracks out there for people to grab, so you can download all the drum or bass tracks just by themselves.” All said. “That will be a little more of an incentive for people to just share the music and see what it’s like to hear it without all the different layers.”

Left Brain will release its album on March 27th at Launchpad, and continue to promote in any effective way necessary.
“We’re going to produce a limited run of hard-copy CDs.” Clifford said. “And then, from there on, we’re going to focus mainly on web page distribution.”

The word solipsism is defined as, “The belief that the only thing somebody can be sure of is that he or she exists.” This is a strong message that only devoted and talented musicians could produce without the use of lyrics. The title of the album sums up a general idea of the type of music Left Brain has produced – something even French philosopher Rene’ Descartes could be fond of.

According to Allen, “One possible interpretation (of solipsism) is that you are truly alone in a world made of simply your own projections – yourself.”

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