Guitarist Jason Kui is scheduled to release his latest full-length studio recording Naka Feb. 14 through Prosthetic Records. The up-and-coming musician’s sophomore LP, it is a promising new offering from Kui and the musicians with whom he recorded the record. It boasts a variety of musical arrangements that is certain to keep listeners engaged from beginning to end. The talent displayed by Kui and company throughout the album does just as much as the songs themselves to entertain and engage audiences. The record’s sequencing puts the last touch to its presentation, and ensures in its own way, that noted engagement and entertainment. Each item noted here is critical in its own way to the whole of Naka. All things considered, they make the album an early candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums.
Jason Kui’s sophomore LP Naka is a presentation that, with the right support, could be the record that makes him and the musicians with whom he recorded the album some of the next big names in the rock industry. It is that strong of an offering. That is proven in part through the record’s diverse musical arrangements. From the record’s full-on prog-rock opener ‘Splash!’ – which was inspired by a visit to a water fall in Iceland in 2018 to the more subtle, almost country music style opus that is the album’s title track to the nearly 10-minute prog-metal opus ‘Dance of Awakening The Spirit Part II, The Ball’ and right to the funk of ‘Games Brown (Hey!)’ and the deeply moving ‘Then and Now,’ Kui and company offer a wide range of style of music for listeners to enjoy. The group never sticks too long to just one style of music, instead, showing their talents and influences throughout. Some of the other songs that show that noted diversity are works, such as the Joe Satriani-esque ‘Mean Bird (ft. Tom Quayle),’ ‘The Creator / The Destroyer,’ which is yet another full-on prog-metal opuses that fans of that genre will enjoy, and ‘Pixel Invasion,’ the album’s lead single. The song opens with what sounds like music from an old-school Sega Master system video game. That brief opening quickly gives way to an upbeat hybrid metalcore/prog-metal opus that boasts its own positives. That song taken into consideration along with the rest of the works noted here, the diversity of the arrangements is clear. It leaves no question that it forms a solid foundation for the album. Kui’s work and that of his fellow musicians within the course of each song strengthens that foundation even more.
From the beginning to the end of Kui’s new 48-minute record, Kui and his fellow musicians display great talent. Kui himself proves that he can shred with the best of today’s biggest names in songs, such as ‘Pixel Invasion,’ ‘The Creator / The Destroyer’ and ‘Dance of Awakening The Spirit Part II, The Ball.’ At the same time, he also makes sure listeners know that he isn’t just a shredder through the much gentler arrangements in ‘Then and Now’ and Naka’ and the fun, funky ‘Games Brown (Hey!).’ This is important to note because that ability to play just as expertly in faster tunes as in slower, and more easy-going tunes exhibits his versatility as a musician. Drummer Anup Sastry’s work on the kit is just as worth noting as Kui’s work on the guitar. Sastrys’ backbeat and fills on ‘Games Brown (Hey!)’ add quite a bit of flavor and flare to that arrangement, never once going over the top, but rather giving listeners just enough. His work alongside that of the bassist (whose name is not listed with the album’s download link) and that of the horn players adds even more fun to the arrangement. The end result of all those parts is a work that stands solidly on its own merits. The full actual, orchestral work on the brief, ‘Interlude – Roseneath’ is another example of the importance of the talent of the featured musicians. The strings soar, creating a feeling and emotion that makes the almost two-minute opus sound like something that belongs in a movie soundtrack. It’s just one more way in which the work of the albums’ featured musicians proves so pivotal to the album’s presentation. The rest of the featured performances do their own share to support that statement. All things considered, the performances of each arrangement works with the arrangements’ diversity to show even more why Naka is such a strong new offering from Kui. Taking all of this into consideration, there is still one more aspect to examine in the album – its sequencing.
The sequencing of Jason Kui’s new album is important to note because it does just as much as the record’s overall content to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment. An album can have good songs but poor sequencing and fail because of that sequencing. Kui’s album is one of those works that is the exact opposite. It has good songs and good sequencing. The record opens upbeat with the energetic ‘Splash!,’ which itself is comparable to works from Joe Satriani. The energy in ‘Splash!’ continues in Pixel Invasion,’ which immediately follows ‘Splash! before pulling back and completely changing in ‘Interlude – ‘Roseneath.’ From the full-on orchestra arrangement of that brief work, the album’s energy changes pace yet again, and in yet another different direction, in the ballad that is ‘Naka.’ ‘Mean Bird’ changes things up yet again, but keeps the energy flowing with its driving, mid-tempo arrangement. ‘The Creator / The Destroyer’ pushes the album’s energy up a few notches again, giving the metal masses plenty of reason to raise the horns. Things pick up even more in ‘Dance of Awakening Pat II, The Ball’ before sharply changing direction again immediately after in ‘Games Brown (Hey!).’ This sharp change of pace more than ensures listeners’ engagement and entertainment. From the funky, feel-good vibe of ‘Games Brown (Hey!),’ Kui and company turn things again to close the album in ‘Then and Now.’ That closer lands listeners gently on another musical shore, closing out the album in perfect fashion, giving listeners one more memorable moment to finish things off. The rises and falls and changes in general are all at the perfect spots throughout the course of the album. At no point throughout are listeners left to feel the urge to skip songs. That is a tribute to the time and thought put into the record’s sequencing. When this is considered along with the album’s musical diversity and the performances of the musicians throughout, the album in whole becomes a presentation that music lovers across the board will appreciate.
Jason Kui’s sophomore album Naka is a positive new offering from the up-and-coming guitarist. It offers something for almost everyone, as is evidenced in part through the album’s diverse musical arrangements. The performances by Kui and his fellow musicians throughout the album give audiences just as much to enjoy as the record’s arrangements. The sequencing of the record puts the finishing touch to the record. Each item in itself plays a key part to the album’s presentation. All things considered, they make Naka another early candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock albums. Naka will be available Feb. 14 through Prosthetic Records. More information on the album is available online now along with all of Jason Kui’s latest news and more at:
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