Maybe it’s my addictive personality, but I’ve always had to consciously regulate how many times I listen to a new record that I really like, just so I won’t ruin it for myself. Too much exposure to a good thing tends to lessen its value. Obviously, this is true in many aspects of life, but it’s something I find that I encounter a lot in music.
Interestingly, as the “Internet Age” progresses, music seems to be moving closer to my bingey persuasion, with instant access to whatever you want, and constant new music available everywhere you look.
Still, I have been judiciously rationing out my exposure to Bubby Lewis’ new album (released in August), “Hero Dynasty,” because I friggin’ love it so much. I wrote about the single “Game Of Life” back in June in this column, and I’m happy to report I can still listen to the record with wonderment and — when Bubby’s ripping a nasty bass line like the one at 4:41 on the track “Blossom Planet” — with sheer glee.
So this is the way I’m finding I have to approach the new music coming out of Denver’s Color Red record label, specifically the recent releases from the groups Manycolors and Gold Leader, both featuring Analog Son keyboardist Eric Luba.
The really good players in this area moonlight in several bands, and Luba is no different. Manycolors is a project led by Luba and guitarist Brant Williams, and so far they’ve produced several singles in the lo-fi instrumental genre, available to stream anywhere.
The thing is, the music out of this group is anything but lo-fi. It’s a well-recorded, subtle mix of masterful mood setting featuring sample-like, earworm guitar riffs, vibey synth work and an awesomely loose drumming and percussion mixture. There’s also this cohesion to the sound that reminds of older recordings.
Ah, yes. That would be what’s called “tape saturation,” one of the main reasons you record on tape in this digital age. Color Red actually has its own studio in the basement, and everything tracked there is recorded on a Tascam tape deck from the ‘80s. Talk about cool.
Gold Leader is a ripping, funky foursome featuring Zach Jackson and Thomas Jennings from the popular local group Mama Magnolia. Luba and his similarly prolific band-hopping friend Will Trask, on drums, round out the group.
Totally different people, except for the keyboardist, same recording studio, and you’d swear they could live on the same album with Manycolors. The guitar in this group takes more of a center stage, but I’m drawn to the vibe in general, which is just smooth as butter.
Part of the similarity, I think, comes from the magic of the dying art of recording on tape. Nowadays, using tape is expensive, and it’s also just as tedious as it ever was. But in many cases, like with Manycolors and Gold Leader, the sonic results are worth it.
The rest of it is probably the “Luba effect.” The guy straight vibes out, crafting sonic backgrounds and manipulating multiple keyboards from every angle in concert. You should see it.
It’s a really cool thing going on at Color Red. Follow them on YouTube, and, as long as you don’t listen too much on repeat, check out their addicting analog recordings — I dare ya.