ArcTanGent 2016 offered up one of the most bittersweet experiences, the joyous sight of the traditional Cleft and Chums ATG medley whilst knowing it would be for the very last time. Indeed, it was with huge sadness that we said goodbye to Messrs Beesley and Simm – not least because it potentially meant we may never know the secret to their powerhouse riffs and beats. But fear not, like loving grandmas, they agreed to share the ingredients that form the stock of the Turbo-Prog family recipe…
It wasn’t long before I met John that I got really into Faraquet. Their album ‘The View From This Tower’ changed the way I looked at what you could do with a guitar because all of their recordings – or almost all of their recordings – are single tracked guitar. And before Cleft, I’d been in a band where I was one of three guitarists so I was always thinking about my place in the band. Faraquet however is just Devin Ocampo on lead guitar and vocals and he’s just a stunning player. All of his playing is really techy but tasteful at the same time and he just writes really great melodies. He’s not technically the best singer in the world but it’s great.
I’ve got two – one older one and one relatively new one that both changed how I see music.
The old one is a band called Third Eye Blind. They had a hit song called ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ that ended up in the movie American Pie. When I heard their self-titled first album was the first time I felt I wanted to be in a band. I think I must have listened to it about 30 times on repeat when I first got it. I was well into techno and trance and dance music before then and it was the first album with drums and guitars where I thought ‘actually this is really cool’.
Then relatively recently I got into Ghost Reveries by Opeth. I hadn’t heard them until about a year and a half ago, and I really got into that album. Ghost Reveries for me is the perfect point between the old full-on screaming horribleness of Opeth and then the newer stuff. I do like their new stuff but you have to get past all the widdly keyboard solos.
Cleft’s final album ‘Wrong’ is out now. You can purchase the album via Cleft’s bandcamp page. And who knows, you might still keep you up to date with good cheer on their Facebook page…