You know I am always in search of new interesting music to live with, vibe to, and introduce to my readers, and the Indie Music world never disappoints. Today, I would like to introduce Austin Colon to you – a straight-forward, no rules, Alternative-Progressive solo artist who resides in the “City that never sleeps” – New York (NYC)!
One to make his own path in a world of music where streets are lined with mimics, Colon made sure his most recent album called “The Path Ahead” embodied his true mark of an artist and that is songs that are considered worthy due to their creativity, originality, message and musical/vocal scope instead of songs that are limited in those items just to make it commercially-ready. He did not compromise the talent, inspiration, or honesty – and that is what makes music that achieves longevity.
“The Path Ahead” feature eleven tracks that hold onto the threading theme of meditation on life’s complex ideals: loss, sorrow, joy, and optimism, and how one should never lose sight of the path ahead:
- Alone (Again?)
- Perfect Moments
- 10 (a Poem)
- Little Pieces
- Silence is Dangerous
- Fall Back into Place
- I See Right Through Myself
- Love, Frail
- The Path Ahead
This is a capsule review of “The Path Ahead” where I will pull out the tracks to which I feel highlights the overall theme.
We start with the first track “Alone (Again?)” a dark song that speaks about death and its ultimate realization. Colon gently sings “and you will die alone, it's what you've known / since the day you were born you were forlorn / and all your dreams are left unseen and let to be.” And in keeping with the Alternative-Progressive style, Colon marries a forlorn organ with crisp cymbals to a kind of upbeat rhythm. And although this song touches on a topic that many of us hate to discuss, Colon weaves in some nice, soul-hypnotizing guitar solos that just makes the entire premise feel alright – it’s okay. This is the same technique that the Wallflowers utilize on many of their tracks – that dual emotional skill of adding light to dark with instrumentation, vocals, and FX. This track is high on its emotion, intense in its core, and overall qausi-inspirational.
“Perspective” is sort of an inspirational interlude on the album and it gives us that little moment to take a step back from delving deep into the music, take a breath, meditate a little on what we have just heard, and contemplate what we are about to hear. Being the fifth track sets it right in the middle of the album and positions it right where it needs to be. It is instrumental and effective.
“Silence is Dangerous” is the sixth track of the collection and it clearly holds onto that meditative premise by being a thought-provoking track. Even though both verses of the song hit hard, I wanted to transcribe the lyrics of the first verse as it allows the song to open with impact, the lyrics sing: A young black body lies on the ground, a crimson halo 'round his head / his mother's screams echo in the night distilled through all the tears they've shed / an alabaster face thrust upon your screen saying no there's nothing wrong / a heartless voice in a soulless choir, singing loud their hateful song / let's stand against fear, and make our voices heard. Love conquers hate.” “Silence is Dangerous” shows how being silent can be just as dangerous (if not more so) than the tragic issue itself, because silencing the pain, hurt, terror, or antagonizing element mutes the avenue to healing and awareness – it erases the warning. I enjoyed Colon’s subtle approach to the vocal and the minimal instrumentation to heighten the premise. At first listen, one might think that the medium to slow tempos work against each other, but the altering tempos really work well as it illustrates the emotional rollercoaster that connects with the heroes depicted in this song. This track alludes to what Peter Gabriel prides himself in – songs about humanity and that lost element of society that goes overlooked but is so important.
Finally, we have the title track “The Path Ahead” that opens with a strong piano chord and Colon adding a bit of an experimental element by way of synth-vocalizing effects. Spearheading lyrics that drive home the premise encircles this piece, for example: “The path ahead, so ill defined, it winds itself in to a gentle sigh / the vision lost, among the chaos, thats broken down, it seeps into the ground / and we're waiting on that sunlit train to takes us home / the darkness that surrounds I know you feel alone but I never waited long, I never felt so free.” The lyrics speak of optimism in the form of freedom and the slant rhyme allows for the track to stay with you after listening and makes it memorable. In addition, this track does put you on that mental state of pondering on life, its choices, and the journey ahead.
Even though I did not review the entire track list, trust me, there is something for everyone on this album, so please give an ear to the remaining collection: Perfect Moments, 10 (a Poem), Little Pieces, Fall Back into Place, I See Right Through Myself, Anagnorisis, and Love, Frail.
As a well-rounded Alternative-Progressive artist, Colon chose to make his own rules and chose not to settle within the norm when it comes to the typical restraints placed on an artist’s creativity. He allowed for the message of real-life elements to be the muse and for the music to be its avenue. And even though many of the tracks on this album is a bit somber (but not dark) referring to aspects of rational thinking, loss, and existentialism, this album is promising and introspective balancing a metaphorical mix of rain and blue skies along with dark rooms and sunny days.
Taking the road less traveled, Colon took hold of the reigns for the entire project vocally, instrumentally, production-wise, and artistically (cover art), showing that creativity should never be sacrificed, and the message should never get lost in the music.
This is Progressive-Alternative music done right in the same manner as Joy Division, Radiohead, R.E.M. and Neil Young. “The Path Ahead” is music that I call “No Rules” music where the artist respects the work that precedes them but also has the chops to evolve that music onto a different path, one that reflects the artist’s core and gives the audience what they need. In short, he is bending the musical scope to reveal the reality that’s under the surface, but it never breaks!