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Editors’ Notes

Break of Reality ably straddle the line between classical chamber music and rock in much the same way as groups like Ethel and Rasputina. The band’s previous album, 2012’s Covers, featured versions of songs by everybody from Bach to Metallica; the band has also gotten millions of views for their version of the Game of Thrones theme on YouTube. Conversely, Ten is all original compositions by cellist Patrick Laird and drummer Ivan Travino. It mixes classical cello with some piano and primal drumming as cymbals crash, snare drums crack, and kick drums pummel for much of this. Standouts include the slow-burning anthem “Star,” the jittery pizzicato plucking on “Drift Apart,” and “Helix,” which sounds like it could be from a certain HBO series. Those seeking something closer to classical or chamber music can turn to “Storm’s End” or “Nine Deep.” Cello will never be known as the leading instrument in rock, but its versatility is ably apparent in the right hands, as it is here with Laird.

Customer Reviews


The definition of beautiful music.

Best album of 2014??

“Ten”, the 4th release by the highly inventive neo-classical crossover ensemble, Break of Reality, has finally arrived and it has exceeded any expectations I had of a follow up to their last collection of original works – 2009’s “Spectrum of the Sky”. Break of Reality’s new release is a highly expansive outgrowth of the emotionally charged and distinctive instrumental voice that they have so patiently developed. This new album of original material speaks volumes without ever uttering a word.

“Ten” is comprised of ten unique compositions. It is clear that the band has provided just a modicum of insight to their musical direction within the subtlety of each song title. But whether the listener takes the titles literally or figuratively, for me, this entire album is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit. It is about hope. In the process of discovery, it touches on virtually every human emotion as it navigates the peaks and valleys of life. The cellos provide the vocal script while the percussive embellishments propel us through the turns. You can literally hear the many conversations that take place throughout, all provided by the dynamic and expressive voice of the cello.

“Helix” is the powerful opening track. The song begins with a pervasive minimalistic theme that engenders the feelings associated with a suffocating relationship. One can sense the frustration and entrapment as the cello pleads for freedom. The helical theme persists while each crack of the snare drum empowers the decision to leave. In the quieter interlude that begins at the 2:43 mark “the talk” takes place, followed at 3:19 by a variation on the opening theme that has the protagonist “spiral out” towards the untethered freedom that awaits his or her future. You can actually feel the sense of liberation as the celli crescendo toward the giddy closing romp. “Helix” is a fascinating composition that features inventive and incendiary percussion; reminiscent, at times, of Rush’s Neil Peart.

“Storm’s End” opens innocently enough, only to devolve immediately to what one realizes is an ongoing divisiveness in a couple’s relationship: a repetitive and deeply hurtful argument that is punctuated with each slap of the Djembe, an African drum featured extensively in previous BoR albums. Each voice makes an attempt at reconciliation, only to be drawn back to old scripts. Finally, a calming pizzicato paves the way for a temporary “end” to damaging discourse. However, one gets the impression that the resolution may be very short lived.

“Star” is far and away the most uplifting song Break of Reality has ever written. Major key tonality and soaring cello lines create a cocoon of such tenderness and warmth that the listener is instantly transported to a world where the only emotions that can endure are those akin to awe, admiration, and respect. “Star” is a significant achievement about achievement itself: watching someone you love reach new heights and to beget such pride that your heart feels it will burst. It is a cinematic experience that creates an amazing array of positive imagery.

“Drift Apart” is a most fitting description for Track 4. Beginning with a haunting pizzicato, the melodic line that follows promptly sets the stage for two people that have reached the end of their relationship. You can instantly recognize the voice of resignation, where hope once dominated their reality. The arguments are long over and one intuits that certain feelings still exist: a sense of “what if”. But there is an acceptance of the end and a sadness that develops over the loss of intimacy.

“Nine Deep”, for me personally, is a crowning achievement in the Break of Realty repertoire. BoR’s classical roots are on full display in this immensely emotional sojourn into the depths of grief. From the opening statement, we are forced to come to terms with the unmistakable face of a singular catastrophic event. Dealing with the many associative emotions that accompany grief can be overwhelming. It is a lengthy process involving shock, denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventual acceptance, among others. All are addressed in a 6-1/2 minute series of vignettes that walk us through one of life’s most difficult and challenging periods. It is palpable experience that forces us to look directly at the fragility of our nature. But listen closely to the last 45 seconds of this outstanding track and witness the climb from despair as the human spirit once again triumphs over devastation. “Nine Deep” was recorded live with 5 remarkably accomplished cellists: Patrick Laird, Laura Metcalf, Adrian Daurov, Brook Speltz, and Meta Weiss.

“Ten” is a bellwether album for this type of instrumental fusion. It is unlike anything we have heard before, except, in retrospect, as the natural evolution of Break of Reality’s musical narrative. It is a bold experiment and deserves a serious audience. It has lifted me up and assured me that I am not alone in the gritty nature of life where the spirit strives for a better tomorrow.


So much better then edm


Formed: New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formed in 2003 at Rochester, New York's prestigious Eastman school of music, instrumental rock outfit Break of Reality employs three cellists and a percussionist. Taking a cue from kindred spirits like Rasputina and Apocalyptica, the quartet skillfully bridges the gap between rock, metal, pop, and classical, resulting in a sound that is both cinematic and primal. Based in New York City, the group, which includes Patrick Laird, Martin Torch-Ishii, Ivan Trevino, and Laura...
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Ten, Break of Reality
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