Reviews of Oceana

Oceana

“As the title suggests, the music is generally deep and dark, with bits of lightness and beauty breaking through from various angles. The album opens with “Still Motion,” a solo acoustic guitar composition that unfolds like the tentacles of a sea creature, employing clustered arpeggios that imply melodies rather than stating them explicitly. Monder switches to electric for the remainder of the album, but continues to emphasize cascading waves of notes…This is one of the most intriguing and original-sounding CDs I’ve heard all year.”
—Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player Magazine

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“It is very rare to encounter a recording that is truly unique in its compositional style and performance. Oceana is one such record. Monder…has created seven wonderful compositions that are structurally sophisticated and unique in style. Monder’s music seems to move and flow with little effort, while in reality it is incredibly complex from a technical and compositional standpoint. …Oceana, with its changing tides and liquid sound, is a terrific album and a compositional triumph.”
—Dan Bilawski, Jazz Improv Magazine

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“As much an experience in hypnotic textures as a voyage through aquatic depths, Ben Monder’s “Oceana” captures an essential mood and holds it for a full seventy minutes….”Oceana” [is] a truly exceptional disc that cannot and should not be categorized.”
— Nils Jacobson, All About Jazz

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“…unquestionably his most fully-realized record to date, [Oceana] combines complex through-composition with influences ranging from contemporary classical music to Americana and progressive rock. Monder’s tinted filter means these influences end up taking on more personal meaning.”
— John Kelman, All About Jazz

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“Ben Monder’s “Oceana”, the first CD in five years for the enigmatic guitarist, is a stunning acheievement. With their mercurial arpeggios, leaping intervals, sonorous melodies and counterintuitive rhythms, Monder’s through-composed pieces defy comparison. But it is color and mood, not just jaw-dropping complexity, that sets this work apart.”
—David Adler, Jazz Times

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“Oceana, Monder’s fourth release as a leader, reads like a compelling story—a moody, swirling atmosphere full of ghostly worlds, abstract lyricism, small group craftiness, and a sense of compositional drama that keeps you turning each page to see what’s next…On Oceana, Monder proves his ability to distill a variety of guitar pillars into his own concoction and creates a mesmerizing program that speaks to his personal ethos. Truly an outstanding guitar record that stands miles ahead of the rest.”
—Jay Collins, Onefinalnote.com
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“The guitarist’s Oceana is one of the year’s more dazzling jazz discs. Following some novel design tenets, Monder’s music waxes rigorous, psychedelic, pensive, and flamboyant.”
— Jim Macnie, Village Voice
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“An absolutely original voice with no musical comprises or boundaries, Ben Monder is a hidden treasure. Check out his latest recording – Oceana…”
—Souvik Dutta, Abstractlogix.com

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New York Times
– Ben Ratliff
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jazztimes
– Nad Chinen
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