The man called brilliantfish is a composer, songwriter, vocalist, drummer, producer and arranger working with many Toronto artists, including Priya Thomas, Jonathan Seet, Ray montford, Rachel Smith + Rhea's Obsession. The band called brilliantfish is an outlet for all of the things he couldn't do in other people's sessions. Separate is the chalice he offers the world, filled with all of that creative energy. "As my solo project, it's my way of giving a nod to all the people I've admired and played with, and the finger to all the people who said 'you can't do that!'" muses brilliantfish.
The third studio album for brilliantfish, this is actually his fifth CD under the moniker, having released one remix album and an ambient electronic collaboration called still coiled with Jim Field of Rhea's Obsession, recorded live at Toronto's Ambient Ping. Fusing elements of those still coiled explorations with hypnotic melodies and intellectual, thought-provoking lyrics, brilliantfish creates a sound not far removed from classic This Mortal Coil, Breathless, Gavin Friday or Peter Gabriel, each of which is known for epic, moody, arch songwriting that doesn't fit neatly into a categorized box.
"I'm making a certain kind of music but I never know what the handle is," says brilliantfish. "I call it 'pastpresentfuturetension'. I'm a sponge - I absorb a lot of music and influences, but I'm also a filter. My music doesn't always come out the other side the way I intended. This time, I set out to write a bunch of pop tunes and this is what happened along the way." While others have called separate e a dark, moody pop record, he's quick to point out that it doesn't relate to previous brilliantfish recordings. The music is diverse but cohesive: diverse between songs within each brilliantfish CD, distinct between albums, yet all cohesive in the search for truth and spirit. "This is not your average pop music," he explains. "It's not hip and trendy - it has a shelf life. I'd like to think you could listen to this 5, 8, 10 years from now and still find it valid. I am always searching, but the themes are universal."
From primal drum backbeats to a muted jazz trumpet, from sparse soundscapes to a full rock band, 'separate' reveals an obvious admiration for great songwriting, an abhorrence of facile pop and a reverence for memorable lyrics. Eleven tracks explore alienation, addiction, love, loss and redemption through the separation from self and from the world. It is a search for truth and spirit.
"This music is rich and incredibly diverse, showing a talent that you won't find on your bubblegum-pop radio, yet infinitely more listenable. Please, please, don't ever stop. Rating: 10"
-- Jon Day. independent online review, cdstreet.com
"...an aggregate of angst and tension, of dark moods and catchy structures.
Referencing and uniting many different genres into a unique whole,
brilliantfish has made a wonderfully personal record."
- Phosphor, electroage.com