Written Prisms,
(self-produced, 2005)

Both Jason Crawford (Jay Crawdads) and Andy Hall (Slop) provide vocals. Written Prisms is rounded out by Ben Gilbert (bass), Jordan Caulfield (guitar), Marty Bouchard (drums) and Larry Byrne (keyboards). Then there are other musicians who join in on other instruments and assist with samples. The songs range from jazz to hip-hop and rap, with some songs being a blend of styles while others are more to one side or another.

Whichever the style, Written Prisms is passionate about their music, and at times the lyrics reveal this passion.

The percussion that opens up "Breathe Intro" is blended with samples talking about music and forms the center of the song that introduces you to the CD. The spoken lyrics of "Re: Mind" set the tempo and feel over the percussion and horns; the song is about the music, what it is and what it was. "Snooze Button" is the first of four Everydayness songs (the others are "Out to Lunch," "Home at Last" and "Change the Same") and is a slice of everyday 9-to-5 sameness.

They switch to politics in "You Must be Kiddin' Me" as they touch on social issues and the frustration of how much remains the same. The music of "Tension" starts off gently and then tightens up once the lyrics start to describe the emotion. "Out to Lunch" takes parts of conversations and puts them to music and the lyrics flow smoothly into "Hand is Over." The lyrics rant on about other people's performances on stage -- without naming any names. They cut the intensity back a notch and switch to funk in "Swungay" as the music rolls on.

"We Don't Just..." verges on arrogance at times, but focuses on the passion that drives the music that this group creates. The instrumental sections of the song are of different styles and still fit with the rest of the song. "Home at Last" is a short verbal rambling drifting from arriving home to working on music. There is a dreamlike quality to the music through "Show Improve," as the lyrics reminisce about the music and expand into passion. Guitars kick off "Sloppy Seconds" and set the pace for the song.

The music fades to ethereal jazz in "ISM." The content of the lyrics doesn't seem to match the tone of the music, but the delivery pulls the two together. There is a bit of jazz, a bit of funk and a few other things thrown together to create "U Can," and the song cuts suddenly to the driven vocals of "Feel."

They talk about hands in "Stay in Touch (Hands)," in which the lyrics go on and on, while the music has a good beat. There is a haunting edge to the music as memories are explored in "The More I Look." The delivery of the lyrics of "Redefinally" makes this a song to dance to, and the lyrics are interesting in their own right. The last look at everyday life and thoughts comes in the short "Change the Same." Then "Lastly..." brings the CD to an end, the music soft and relaxing.

Written Prisms has taken a spectrum of different sounds and brought them together to a cohesive whole on Ellipsis. The various connecting themes that run through the CD help bring this about. These are good musicians who have crafted some fine music.

by Paul de Bruijn
14 January 2006

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