Gone Gone Beyond

Gone Gone Beyond

Independent release, 2016


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Gone Gone Beyond is the project headed by Los Angeles-based electronic musician, multi-instrumentalist, and producer David Block (aka The Human Experience) in collaboration with guitarist Paul Weinfield and vocalist Danny Musengo (of The Ludlow Thieves). This self-titled six-track debut EP by this collective is not the sort that would come to mind when you think of a project by an “electronic music composer.”

Gone Gone Beyond is not a dance record. In fact, the songs here are slow. For an electronic music album, there are tons of live instruments – guitar, violin, trumpet, double bass, cello, piano, viola, and flute – and eclectic musical styles covered.

In addition, singer Danny Musengo is not quite the polished and sultry vocalist that one would find on an electronic music album. His already raspy voice sounds even more jarring on this EP’s stripped-down and lazy songs. He sounds like an inebriated Bob Dylan, fit only to sing in the public bathroom that’s featured on the EP cover.

However, unglamorous and unflattering as it might be, Musengo’s vocals sound absolutely beautiful here. As a matter of fact, his voice, which lacks any pretension whatsoever, is soulful and touching. The choice of Musengo as the lead vocalist is the best thing about this EP, which is equally weird and beautiful, even musically.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The amalgamation of the miscellaneous styles and instruments, combined with the EP’s electronic music backdrop, could have had a strange outcome. But this is not so, thanks to the sophisticated song arrangements and the brilliant production, which make the complexities in the music sound smooth and simple.

The opening track “Aint Givin’ Up On Love” is sparse and quirky, featuring comical percussive sounds. It has a Cure-like balance of eccentricity and melancholia, with the melancholia part provided by Musengo’s earnest vocals.

“Under Siege” is this EP’s answer to a dance number. But despite being beat-driven, this is more of a peacefully serene track than a loud partying one, consisting of soothing female guest vocals (courtesy Kalibri) and a gorgeously tranquil violin part.

“Backswing” is the most interesting song on this EP. It starts off with Musengo’s smoky vocals and a sultry guitar lick, sounding as if he is performing in one of those seedy bars that you see in the movies where a crime is almost certain to happen. The song then becomes more upbeat, with the trumpet kicking in and the violin playing alongside, sounding like fun Appalachian mountain music – a total 180 degree turn.

“Here For A Moment” – the very first track to come out of this collaboration – is the EP’s most challenging song and also its most rewarding…once you understand it. This meditatively slow number seems never-ending, even though it is just five minutes long. It is the disc’s Zen-song, with its laidback jazzy vibe dominated by a heavy double bass sound and the lyrics like “Here for a moment, then float away; tomorrow child, you may be gone.”

“Carnival” is another conventional electronic cut. Similar to “Under Siege,” this song is also driven by a dance beat and is also quite chilled out despite its fast tempo.

The concluding “Long Day” is a totally odd track here. This is a sentimental, folksy number, not consisting of any percussion or beats. It is mainly driven by violins and strings, as well as some flutes that sound cheesy. Although this eight-minute long song is the EP’s least desirable cut, the element of unpredictability that it adds to the disc certainly makes it worthwhile.

Gone Gone Beyond is like an unexpected pleasant surprise in one’s music collection. The collaboration between Block, Musengo, and Weinfield is truly unique, and these guys should make music together more often.

Rating: A-

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