Written by Alex Warme
Consisting of two musicians from New York and Toronto via the Internet, Aurganic aim to change the world of music by uniting it.
With their full-length effort entitled Life as a Canvas, the experimental electronic/alternative group comes frustratingly close to delivering a work of great triumph. Despite the impressive musicianship, brave mixing of sounds, and bold exploration of an eclectic selection of genres, Life as a Canvas ultimately disappoints because it does not meet its true potential. The album is mostly (but not always) satisfying at its very best, but the musicianship and worthy intentions of its authors deserve praise.
Aurganic’s collective musical chops are substantial: acoustic, electric, and electric upright bass are skillfully played throughout the album with jazzy precision. On Life as a Canvas, group members demonstrate their shared love for a diverse array of musical genres such as drum and bass, dubstep, and ambient electronica. Vocal contributions from various capable Toronto-based artists and appearances of additional instruments (violin, and a koto on the track “Grandma’s Love”) add to the group’s repertoire. All tracks on the album are anchored by electronically generated drum tracks that provide solid foundations upon which Aurganic’s multiple sounds and styles are layered.
Aurganic is an interesting project featuring elements of mixed electronic genres and jazz whose work could easily find itself compared favorably to artists featured in the Buddha-Bar compilation series. However, this album’s effort pales in comparison to the work of influential acts such as Massive Attack and Portishead, who rely less on technical skill than they do on raw emotion and pure substance to superior effect. These bands offer many of the same elements found in Aurganic’s sound, notably the programmed drum tracks and incorporation of various instruments, but their delivery is far more deliberate and results in songs that are memorable and moving.
With this effort, Aurganic proves that they have a mastery of all the different elements of music it tries to blend, but the execution of a seamless mix is what lacks here. Tracks 1 through 3 are, in that order, the album’s strongest (yes, the intro is the best track on the album), mostly because they are the only tracks in which the blends feel… organic.
While Life as a Canvas does satisfy at times and provides its audience some pleasant sensations it fails to connect with the listener, leaving it best enjoyed, in all seriousness, as great background music.