Jason Kalman has released an exceptional album with his debut effort. The great thing about this particular album is its lack of filler tracks - I can't think of a single one that didn't display heart, effort, and talent. A few of his songs really stood out to me, notably, Liberation, with it's reggae/rock feel, Fall of Man, with its perfect mix of synthesizer and echoing guitar, and Go For It, with its uplifting message and beautiful piano reminiscent of British artists like Keane.
Obviously he can switch up styles and pull it off, and that's really what makes this great as an album instead of a collection of tracks. Different styles stemming all from the same unique voice.
That's without mentioning the choruses - almost every one is super catchy and different songs will get stuck in your head on different days. Jason Kalman also self-releases his music - so when you buy his songs, the money goes back to supporting him as a musician instead of into the arms of a label or publishing company.
Honestly, I can't say enough about how good this album is.
A Musician's Musician
Liberation is an all-you can eat audio buffet. Jason Kalman has managed to create an album of original music that encompasses multiple genres of music styles that will appeal to a broad audience. This album will also introduce the listener to many different styles of music that they may not have heard much about before queuing up this record. The album begins with story-type songs "Fairytale Life" and "Best Days." These songs touch upon real-life situations that happen to real people. They combine doses of reality with positive messages to provide you with a believable tale, yet the music doesn't leave you emotionally drained or feel "mopey," like many other similar artists do.
Just when you think you have Kalman figured out, you get the transitional "Illusional You," which guides you down an idealistic path of what love is...or what you want it to be. While you listen to the stories and ideas conveyed in these songs, you will want to go back and listen to them again to soak in the tapestry of the instruments that run the gamut of settings and tones that bring out the feeling behind the song. Unlike most current artists, who appear to get their instruments from "Stringed Instrument Center" and simply plug-and play, Kalman and his musicians carefully select each instrument and each setting to provide the listener with the right sound for the task at hand. The title track, "Liberation," is obviously reggae-influenced, but Kalman is also proving his range of styles by creating a fun reggae-rock hybrid with another positive message, or a message that you can interpret in your own way.
"Can't Let You Go" returns to a structure similar to that of the opening tracks, while "On My Way" has a beautiful piano and strings mixture with a rhythmic brush-drum backbeat. Probably a good driving song. "Fall of Man" provides an inspired drum track with unique keyboard arrangements and some rockin' guitar to back it up. "Crazy For You” would be a great track to put on your girlfriend's mixed tape, as Kalman gives credence to his muse or his obsession. "Afterlife" is a rocker with a great drum dynamic and powerful guitar that sets you up for the finale; the inspirational and soulful "Go For It."
Ok, long review, but Liberation is an album that almost everyone will find something they like or something that relates directly to events in their lives. The variety of sounds, musicians and instruments is refreshing and the subject matter is either inspirational or relatable. Kalman proves that evolving and inspiring music can still be made in 2011, which is something that can't be said for most other artists' efforts over the last few years.