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The best kept secret in music


"Fermata releases earthy music"

Think of all the music Mother Earth creates: the sounds of streams, the rustle of leaves, the songs of birds, crickets and owls. They are easily overlooked, easily overshadowed by the songs of modernity. The musicality is subtle and absolutely amazing if heard by the right ear.??Opening their debut album Through the Distance and the Dark with nighttime sounds of chirping accompanied by a simple, pristine strumming of a guitar, Fermata introduces listeners to a kind of earthy, organic rock. Simple, streamlined sounds compound to create intricate, full songs.??As that commencing guitar — intensified by the introduction of the bass — flows surely and steadily beneath the vocals, “Zura” takes on an almost tribal edge. Instead of the pared-down sound coming across as the raw grittiness of garage rock, it takes on an aspect of elemental purity. As vocalist Sara Weiland sings — intensified by the sounds surrounding her words — “It was a hot Missouri July night / the sweat and the fireflies / all night the town looked for them / they were nowhere to be found / and when it rains, you can’t tell the difference / because the footprints became the stains / of a growing resilience,” the tale transforms into a mystical, haunting entity.??With Weiland’s words becoming accusatory and abrasive in “The Black Key,” drummer Noah Buckley-Farlee steps up his beats to match the intensity. The craft of this track is in the percussion taking a role in the duet, as central as the lyrics: “Are you too slow to recognize / just how much you are despised? / Stars are bombs falling from the sky / and there is no end in sight / I want to cut you down to size / hope you choke on your lies / as you hide in the countryside.” It is the eagle’s warning cry, the hooves of a herd pounding the soil.??Following the overt fierceness of “Black Key” comes a much more subtle strength through “On a Clear.” Epitomizing this organic vibe that gets as near to bracketing the Fermata sound as anything, the musicality is subtle. The creation is absolutely amazing when heard by the right ear. The purposeful marching percussion, the incorporation of the French horn with a soft acoustic guitar amid the harmony singing “this is letting go,” comes across as so natural. The words with any other guitar would be off. The drums paired with another lyric would not quite survive.??The strength of Through the Distance and the Dark lies in the deliberate development of each and every track. No note is extraneous, no word extravagant. Though criticism could be garnered from the slim just-over-20-minutes playing time, kudos can also be offered for the decision to not include any fillers. Throwing in half-developed songs, lacking in lyrical cohesiveness or synthesized sounds, would simply not be in the Fermatan philosophy. With only six tracks, the seventh or eighth could make disposable a very solid album. Instead of striving for quantity, band members Jon Koschoreck, Jared Schwert, Weiland and Buckley-Farlee find themselves the craftspeople of quality.??Primary to this quality is the poetry of the lyrics. Steering away from abstract philosophies or arrogant boasts, the lines have a way of evoking emotion without being trite or clichéd. Take a few lines from “Silent City”: “When night comes it holds me in its sweet embrace / translucent memories / They take hold of me as I walk these lonely streets / Now it seems so calm, but I can hear voices all around / of those who hunt for innocence / But they won’t find it in me.” Standing alone, they are profound. Coinciding with the music, they are powerful.??Similarly, Fermata sets to taking a piece and making it more than a simple song, making it a story, a living thing. They find themselves dabbling with instruments and effects beyond their own specialties. Such willingness to explore elements in addition to the drum, the guitar, the bass, the voice, adds a certain richness, offers a depth of sound. The orchestra introducing “The Black Key” is incredibly faint, incredibly delicate and incredibly effective in producing the drama, which develops and delivers over the next few minutes. Likewise, the calling French horn during “On a Clear” brings a crispness, a purity to the song.??Closing Through the Distance and the Dark is “The Woodsman,” a track as intentional as it is unassuming. Following songs that boast of fullness from the instrumentalists, “The Woodsman” is the calm after the fascinating storm. Adding a chorus of voices to Koschoreck makes for a return to the naturalness, that organicness which finely penetrates the album. Following songs that boast as slightly more rock-oriented, “The Woodsman” offers a moment of appreciation. It is as if the sounds of modernity are quieted. All that sings are the streams, the rustle of leaves, the songs of birds, crickets and owls.??Club-goers can see Fermata for free at The Klinic with a student ID March 30.??Rating: 4 out of 5 - The Badger Herald

"Local Calendar: Fermata CD Release"

Local band Fermata dabbles with new wave (via glockenspiel-like keyboard), prog-rock (Moody Blues, anyone?), and '80s anthems a la Pat Benatar and Heart. The confluence of these disparate styles, once filtered through the evocative vocals of Sara Weiland and songwriter Jon Koschoreck, often lead to operatic moments; there's a story to be told and the song is its conduit. A dusky forbidding atmosphere hangs over the songs on Fermata's new EP, Through the Distance and the Dark: Very little light shines through the inky soul searching, though it's apparent that a flame burns inside. - The Onion

"Review of "Through the Distance and the Dark""

Despite the band's freshness, they harbor no shortage of zeal, getting themselves out in front of numerous audiences and to enthusiastic reception. Fermata's music is a blend of acoustic and electric tones and somewhat complex song structures that deviate from redundant verse-chorus structures with some success. Melody is crucial in Fermata's music and Weiland is especially prominent on vocals. ... Fermata leans toward the light, meaning that they tend toward beauty. This is a quality in short supply and the band deserves credit for being bold and attempting to paint in detail. Hopefully they will continue to experiment with their colors but should also closely examine the surface on which they create. - Rick's Cafe

"Fermata CD Release Friday"

party (pärt´ë) n. a gathering for social entertainment, or the entertainment itself, often of a specific nature [a birthday party, cocktail party]

extravaganza (ek strav´c gan´zc) n. a spectacular, elaborate theatrical production

Anyone can put together an album release party. The band shows up, sets up, rocks out. The crowd shows up, drinks up, rocks out. Everyone goes home happy. If they do it right, the only distinction between an album release party and any other performance is never-before seen stack of records in some obscure corner.

Not everyone can put together an album release extravaganza. Within a minute or two of discussing the plans for the release of their debut album Through the Distance and the Dark, at least three of the four members of Fermata could have you sold.

“We are going to end with a sing-along,” guitarist Jon Koschoreck explained. “We are having lyrics printed up, will hand them out to people right before the last song and have everyone join us.”

If the prospective ending is not enough to put you inside the King Club Friday night, vocalist Sara Weiland’s explanation of the ambiance from the very beginning should. “It will be themed toward the CD, very earthy and organic,” she said. “We want to make it a theme rather than a show. We are going to have props set up around the stage that correspond with the symbols on the album.”

Describing the stage setup in reference to the images on the album packaging, Jon came to the block of wood and axe, which led percussionist Noah Buckley-Farlee to mention Jon’s guitar jumps and the essence of Fermata took center stage.

“People are paying to see us perform,” Jon said. “Some bands come up there like they came off the street or something. A little ketchup stain here, some mustard there. We don’t do that.”

What Fermata does do is put on a show. And just like the subtle distinction between the album release “party” and “extravaganza,” there is a Fermatan difference distinguishing “playing” from “performing.”

Such a difference is brought to life particularly through Sara. “I tend to get carried away or really get into it,” she admitted. “Like during the Klinic show with the chair. I was singing and not really thinking about it and just kicked the chair.”

“And as I watched the chair fly, I had two thoughts,” Jon commented. “Either this is really awesome, or really bad.”

Noah interjected, “It wouldn’t be entirely bad for people to go home talking that night. We would be the band where the singer kicked the chair and injured some guy. We would be known.”

Their devotion to the performance — whether by a suddenly made mobile chair, the mid-chorus ripping of Sara’s skirt, the unplanned matching attired — certainly will make Fermata a name to know. But their songs will make them hard to forget.

Influenced by outdoors and books, Jon identified himself as a lyricist who found out he could also play the guitar. As such, he wants the audience to enjoy the extravaganza. But he equally wants them to buy the new album. “I want people to go home and find out what the lyrics are. You can’t always hear exactly what someone is singing,” Jon explained with Sara commenting on the additional trouble many soundmen have with getting a female vocalist properly mic-ed. “And that is the story right there. That’s what the album is for — people hear something they like, buy it, take it home and actively listen.”

“So we are going to have a mandatory two drink, one CD minimum,” Noah mused. “Maybe we can have the bartender just slide the album under the drink as the coaster.”

Bribery will not be necessary, if only people make the courageous step of spending the $5 cover charge. When asked how they perceived music in the Madison area, Sara fluttered her eyes and exhaled audibly.

“Exactly. That pretty much sums it up,” added Jon. “Younger people go to the shows, they have no problem spending the money to see a show. That is their night. But —”

“ — Madison is a bar town, not a club town,” Noah interrupted. (In case there was any confusion, The King Club offers an excellent selection of alcohols and works some of the city’s best bartenders.)

Even so, Fermata found little deterrence. They remain invested in making a sound that intrigues listeners. They continue to develop unique shows which reward those willing to sacrifice one cranberry vodka for club cover. “We are just experimenting and creating. You have to believe in yourself enough to do that,” Sara said.

An album release party? Eh, another show will come along. An album release extravaganza? Only once. And only with the likes of Fermata. - The Badger Herald


2007 EP
2006 EP - "Through the Distance and the Dark"


Feeling a bit camera shy


Fermata is a rock band from Madison, Wisconsin that defies easy definition and brings a sincerity and tone of musicianship that is all too rare in the music world today. The band formed over the course of several years and is anchored by the vibrant and literary songwriting of Jon Koschoreck and Sara Weiland’s expressive and sultry vocals. The band was completed with the addition of the solid and innovative drumming of Noah Buckley-Farlee. While band members personally draw inspiration from a broad cross-section of musical genres and styles including but not limited to indie rock, progressive rock and pop, Fermata’s own sound and vision is independent and not married to any one influence.
There is a striking uniqueness to Fermata’s musical approach that is not often heard in popular music today. The band approaches each song as its own entity, a one-act play if you will, that pulses into the mind and the heart of all who listen. Sara’s undeniable stage presence was developed through her background in theater, and it commands the audience’s attention as she wholeheartedly becomes the ‘characters’ in each song.
Fermata’s lyrical topics range from fictitious crimes of passion to the real world struggles of love and loss that all of us face, but they are not limited by glib or cookie-cutter notions of heartbreak or violence that pervade much of music today. The lyrics are never banal, the melodies are never static, and the energy is always present, rushing towards a precipice of emotion. The sum of these parts cannot be denied, whether it is a bluntly sensational live performance or a more nuanced audio recording.
Since breaking out into the Madison music scene only in the spring of 2005, Fermata has played a large number of shows to numerous and very enthusiastic audiences. Quickly growing endeavors in the wider Midwest region, increasing radio play, and more media attention highlight the speed with which Fermata has attracted a following. Connoisseurs of music understand that this is a band that takes its music and its listeners very seriously.
The band is very excited about the upcoming release of their sophomore release, following the positive reception of 2006’s “Through the Distance and the Dark.” Fermata’s 2007 self-titled EP is a more mature endeavor that further fleshes out the band’s musical mission statement: to stand amongst the few who long to reenergize listeners and remind them why we all listen to music in the first place — to feel.