Artifacts by Ryan Klockner aka This August Age is a finely crafted debut orchestral progressive pop rock album with folk elements. Ryan is a Chicago, Illinois-based singer-songwriter and a self-taught musician. As a DIY bedroom musician, the scope of his music is impressive. His deep love and passion for strings and orchestral music comes from his childhood listening to The Beatles and Classical music. Ryan plays many instruments, and throughout the epidemic, he concentrated on honing his piano skills.
The LP consists of ten tracks and runs for about forty-four minutes with a vast musical canvas. All proceeds from album sales will be donated to NAMI Chicago, a mental health organization.
The album begins with A Note From the Author with its stunning vocal harmonies and beautiful string section. First In Line is a fine track with its prominent bass line that takes the template further. Took It Back commences with cellos and piano lines. Drums are then added to this backdrop. Carousel gives melancholic and dark vibes. A highlight. Great vocal layering wizardry with a good mix of progressive rock and symphonic elements. Caterpillar consists of some tight kick drums, organ-like piano playing. This gives a folk rock sound feel. Paradise is a powerful rock ballad with the right touches of energy and melancholy. Philanderer’s Lament begins with a very catchy piano riff with the kick drum creating anticipation. Tattoo is another good energy upbeat number. Here With You is a slow ballad that evokes powerful emotions. The album concludes with Epilogue that makes use of stunning string orchestral programming and the perfect song that encapsulates the spirit of the album. The perfect conclusion by This August Age.
The album has a grand cinematic feel. The music sounds like a mix of folk Interpol and Radiohead with classical touches. The album manages to seamlessly blend together elements of progressive rock with classical and orchestral music. From the opening track, it’s clear that this is an album that is going to take the listener on a musical journey. In terms of things to be improved is that could be more dynamic vocals with additional vocalists since the scope of the music is limited by the range of a single vocalist.
That being said, the album is full of complex and intricate vocal harmonies, with each track building upon the last to create a sense of narrative and excitement. Use of classical instrumentation, such as violins and cellos, adds a rich layer of depth to their sound, and the addition of a full orchestra on several tracks only serves to elevate the music even further. The songwriting is thought-provoking and introspective, tackling some compelling themes. And the vocals are powerful and emotive, bringing the lyrics to life in a way that is both moving and engaging. The orchestral work with piano playing are the highlights of the record. Barouqe pop would be an apt term for this as well.
With Artifacts, Ryan has crafted a truly impressive record. It would appeal will appeal to fans of both progressive rock and classical music. Most importantly it has a strong emotional core. It’s an ambitious release that showcases the unique musical voice of the artist that is This August Age.