Music is an all-together complicated business that is too often forced to endure cosmetic makeovers so that the general public will view it as streamlined and easily accessible as opposed to ruthless and fiercely competitive. And on top of that, there’s never been more talent in the pool than there is right now, with artists from all walks of life and representing every possible style of music attempting to break into the business and make their brand the most dominant one. If you don’t have texture in your sound though, you’ve got nothing.
You can have a great marketing strategy, and even some decent chops as a musician. You can even have the look that sells and all the hooks in your song to go with it; none of it matters unless your music is both captivating and richly textured, full of life. That’s why there are so few artists occupying the top of the spectrum, but nevertheless, one more is rising above the rest to join their ranks, and his name is Steve Wheeler.
Steve Wheeler is changing the game with his new record Terminal Velocity, a modestly compiled three-song EP that introduces the world to the solo capabilities of this highly acclaimed master of sports soundtracks. Terminal Velocity is very avant-garde, but it isn’t harshly experimental or stoically ambient like some of you might expect in a record with that title. Instead of channeling atonal white noise, Wheeler harvests the most larger-than-life, ambitious sounds in the audiological lexicon and fuses them into a living symphony of cataclysmic destruction, rebirth, and triumph.
If you think it’s impossible for an instrumental record to shake the ground beneath your feet and rouse a sense of urgency in the very core of your being, think again. Terminal Velocity was designed to get people acquainted with Wheeler, true, but it also is doing a much needed service for left field musicians everywhere in showing the mainstream music consumer how melodic and inviting experimentalism really can be.
If you’re looking for something new and completely different than anything else in pop music today, something that is intellectually stimulating as well as rhythmically constructed, then Terminal Velocity is a must-listen. Wheeler doesn’t just offer you a taste of what he’s got, he unleashes a plethora of colorful fireworks that demand your attention from start to finish and unforgivingly leaves you affected by the sheer girth and weight of his sound.
Stylistically some critics will call him pop avant-garde, others will go with post-classical, but it’s my firm belief that all of them will call him brilliant, as I do today. There are few opportunities in a generation to really leave a lasting impression that not only contributes to the international songbook but permanently changes it for the better, and this is one of those opportunities. Steve Wheeler isn’t going to waste his moment, and Terminal Velocity appears to be only the first of many transmissions from within the mind of this excellent songwriter.
-review by Jodi Marbury