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Introducing… The Ace Project

June 9, 2010 by  

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Introducing…  The Ace Project

NAME: The Ace Project

GENRE: Pop/Rock/Alternative/Acoustic

SOUNDS LIKE: A cocktail of Alternative Rock bohemia, confessional Acoustica exposés and infectious Indie Pop. Shaken…not stirred

LOCATION: Hamburg and London

LINE UP: Chris Kaufmann (vocals/guitar/keys/drums), Christopher Martini (bass guitar/classical guitar)

WHAT’S THE STORY?: Having played various instruments in Punk and Alternative bands, Ace frontman Chris Kaufmann rocked the Hamburg venues during his school days. He eventually began imagining his own unique melodies and, inspired to share these ideas with the world, he started writing prolifically at the age of seventeen. By exploring his material in the studio he soon discovered further talents for producing music and after leaving school he experimented with formats for a new live group. With this in mind he named his enterprise The Ace Project; a title which has stuck ever since. Unfortunately he had grown weary of kicking around the Hamburg scene. The cities stages offered nothing new, and having been influenced by American artists like Live and The Counting Crows, a beckoning from the New World waved across the North Atlantic. After demonstrating a high calibre of artistry during an audition at Berklee college in Boston, Kaufmann was accepted onto one of the world’s most highly regarded music courses (amongst the exhaustive list of famous graduates include producer Quincy Jones, Jazz artists Dianna Krall and Branford Marsalis, guitarists Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, singer/songwriter Meredith Brooks, and Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy). Stimulated by the fresh breath of scenery, he jammed with like-minded locals and hit the road on a tour of the East Coast. This experience was integral to shaping his overall musicianship; he was in his element and relished the lifestyle, but after entertaining a shoreline of audiences he wound up at the end of the trail with little more than worn jeans, empty pockets, and a guitar in need of new strings. A hungry man, he returned to Germany… After arriving back in Hamburg, Kaufmann earned a University diploma in English, Media and Music, but, unable to deny his jamming urges he also resumed writing and playing practices with his old bass guitar accomplice Christopher Martini. Kaufmann and Martini are The Ace Project. They now hope to finalise their lineup, and gravitate towards London to test their compatibility with the UK scene. Watch this space..

RELEASES: With the prospective title of ‘ Lonesome Planet ‘, The Ace Project have an LP of quality material. They look forward to completing their lineup and officially releasing the album soon.

GIGS: Kaufmann has played solo gigs in London and New York and the Ace Project play around Hamburg with rotating members. With great feedback from the UK they hope to entertain London and the rest of the country after finalising their lineup. The guys regularly blog details regarding upcoming gigs on their MySpace profile.

THEY SAY: “I think what matters most is creating something real, honest and emotional. The Ace Project are suckers for melodies that get under the skin. Never boring, we’re always injecting punch and force into our music.”

WE SAY: In a musical climate otherwise dominated by sexed-up and auto tuned pop stars, programmed four-to-the-floor rhythms and sub bass synthesizers, the ‘Lonesome Planet’ album is composed to the beat of Chris Kaufmann’s heart and is a reminder of the human soul that once compelled the industry; this record is the ghost in the drum machine. Kaufmann’s songwriting speaks for itself, remaining fresh and musical whilst his production and engineering demonstrates a broad spectrum of qualities. Electric guitars buff a sparkling sheen onto acoustic timbres and lead embellishments are well phrased, lyrical and bluesy. Electric pianos occasionally interact with guitars providing rich, organic tones and a string section sweeps a carpet of drama under ‘Retrospect’. From their initial count in till the decay of the final crash cymbal, the drums spearhead every dynamic shift emotively, making use of tight, reserved and spacious rhythms that gather energy and fill out where necessary. Rather than drone each chord’s fundamental root in predictable eighth notes, Christopher Martini’s bass lines often use cleverly phrased and harmonically crafted cadences to counterpoint the vocal melodies. He imparts a flow to the music’s movement by playing intricate groupings of detailed and somewhat syncopated patterns and these rhythms open up in spacing where he intuitively accents sustained pitches over selective kick drums using smooth, low-end legatos. All bass sequences and section interchanges are inevitably punctuated and sewn together with wonderfully flavoursome runs and fret board flurries. Armed with an acoustic and a capo, Kaufmann tickles his guitar strings into arpeggios of pitched raindrops that patter triplet rhythms harmoniously before he casts chords into the wind. His personal and breathy lyrics well up over the music and downpour honest, introspective and confessional anecdotes which occasionally collapse into graceful falsettos and entrust the listener with confidence. Rather than merely pitch words, his voice tells of experience, sincerely seeming to relive each song in performance. An audience that has lived, loved, lost and learned will no doubt connect with these human emotions and likewise reminisce over hitherto forgotten faces, places and occasions. These moments are as intimate as the solo bird’s song amidst a dawn chorus, but they juxtapose cathartic, stormy outbursts of bohemian Rock lightning; Kaufmann can shout as well as sing! In contrast, the subdued and turbulent shades offer opposing weather fronts to the albums overall landscape which consequently remains vibrant. The skies are overcast with emotional clouds but are forecast to clear the air. In a testament to their virtuosity, Kaufmann and Martini wrote and recorded all of the instrumental parts and produced the album without assistance. Though their musicianship is clearly exceptional, their compositions are devoid of ego. Keeping arrangements effective throughout, they both avoid unnecessary showmanship or instrumental over indulgence. Their performances are by no means lack lustre, but embellishments are tasteful and purposeful and their writing remains natural, unforced, trimmed of excess flab and concisely provides the emotion required to support the lyrical sentiments expressed by the vocals. These days our software media players and fashionable mobile devices encourage us to jump from artist to artist through a nonsensical, lucky-dip soundtrack. However, Kaufmann and Martini have developed a comprehensive track list of mixed emotions which, like any truly classic album, is best appreciated as a whole. During the hour you will first remember your most defining moments before releasing the heartfelt sentiments they stir when shouting along with the reckless Rock abandon that follows. Collectively these songs provide pure music therapy and will leave you feeling alive and invigorated. Create a partition for The Ace Project, take your playlist off random shuffle and listen to ‘Lonesome Planet’ from start to finish.





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