THE SHAPE OF DREAMS
An exotic melody accompanies a desert caravan moving beneath a blazing sun. The sound of waves wash against a pristine South American beach. A lone flamenco guitar echoes through the cobbled streets of old Sevilla. And a lilting three quarter time rhythm conjures images of the rolling green hills of Ireland. The music is cinema. It is sound given shape and color. This is the music of Incendio.
With the summer of 2013 comes several milestones for the band: Incendio’s first significant release in four years, as well as their inclusion on Baja Records’ Guitar Greats III. On the latter, they are featured alongside award winning artists such as Jesse Cook, Armik and Luis Villegas. The former is their new studio album – The Shape of Dreams.
The Shape of Dreams is Incendio’s eighth release and first full band studio album since 2006’s Seduction. On this project, the band continues its sonic exploration into the realms of instrumental world fusion. The new album harkens back to the sound of their 2002 Billboard Magazine-charting release Illumination, but with a maturity and span that Illumination only hinted at.
Incendio, simply put, is instrumental world music. The primary “voice” of the band is the guitar, but to say the music of Incendio is solely guitar music would be an oversimplification. The guitar is certainly present, but other instruments such as the mandolin, bouzouki, violin, Celtic harp, piano, bass, synthesizer and various ethnic percussion instruments play a huge role in the ensemble’s sound. American musicologist Donald Grout is credited as saying that only instrumental music, which is “pure music free from the burden of words”, can convey the deepest emotions of the composer. And for this reason, the evocative titles of the songs are very much there to help shape or guide the listener’s experience.
Whether it is the rapid acoustic guitar melodies found in Mitra’s Dance or the expansive use of undulating synthesizers on Someday, the music of Incendio tells stories. Incendio’s intention on The Shape of Dreams is to truly take the listener on a sonic adventure. The intensity of a piece like Of Sword and Shadow is in direct contrast to the more whimsical “world-folk” sensibilities of a song like The Parrot and the Llama. The East Indian influenced Song of Tiamat showcases dueling electric and acoustic guitars while Azucar Mocha grooves in a hybridized Latin-Reggae style. The group’s sound on The Shape of Dreams is very detailed and expansive thanks to the work of mix engineer Bo Astrup and a special high-resolution audiophile release is slated for release later this year.
Formed in the summer of 1999 by Jim Stubblefield, Jean-Pierre Durand and Liza Carbé, Incendio (which means “fire” in Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish) became a vehicle for the influences and compositional talents of the three musicians. Echoes of music ranging from classical, to jazz, to rock, to flamenco, to Celtic, to even bluegrass can be heard in Incendio’s music. It is no surprise that this eclectic blend of influences has led to a sound that is a truly unique one.
While the band’s early work could be characterized as part of the “new flamenco” or “rumba flamenco” craze of the 1990s, The Shape of Dreams is really something much different. While categorizing music seems to be often necessary, Incendio’s sound is hard to place in any one specific box and this has sometimes been cited as “a blessing and a curse” by the group. The “blessing” is the vast array of influences that the band can draw upon when creating their sound and the “curse” often being the lack of attention that instrumental music, of any kind, often gets by mainstream media. Since their music defies easy characterization, it is the smaller radio markets, college radio, and more recently internet radio like Pandora, Spotify and Jango where the burgeoning support for the band has grown exponentially over the last few years.
Incendio’s richly textured music is rooted in myriad sources: Carbé’s flamenco and classical guitar training as well as her Sicilian ancestry, Durand’s Peruvian heritage, Stubblefield’s European travels, not to mention Durand’s penchant for rock-style dramatics and Stubblefield’s lightning-fingered neo-classical guitar mastery. Carbé’s deceptively graceful bass and guitar playing grounds Durand and Stubblefield’s dazzling twin-guitar attack, resulting in fascinating sonic explorations that take on an even greater dimension when joined with longtime friends – percussionist Bryan Brock and drummer Nicole Falzone.
Although Incendio prides itself on releasing finely crafted studio albums, they are also a true live band! The evidence of the strength of live show can be seen and heard on the Dia y Noche CD and DVD releases of 2005 as well as much more recent footage captured at The Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles and at Pasadena’s Ambassador Auditorium. The cinematic approach that Incendio takes in delivering their music has always been part of their sound and it will come as no surprise that the group’s pieces are often used for music on television and film. Incendio’s music has been used on The History Channel, A & E, Showtime and songs by its members have been featured in video games like Far Cry 3 and major movies like Bridesmaids.
The band looks forward to taking the music from The Shape of Dreams, as well as their previous seven albums, on the road this summer. From New Mexico to Texas to Washington DC to Connecticut, Incendio will continue to share their energy, fire and vision with current and future fans! The group looks forward to sharing the shape of their dreams to those who want to hear them…