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"MadTracks--'Zura' by Fermata"

When talking about their craft, musicians tend to name other musicians as their influences, whether they’re Jeff Buckley, Jeff Beck or DJ Jazzy Jeff. Not so with local five-piece Fermata. Though fans compare the band to lots of other musicians -- Tori Amos and the quirkily misspelled Seattle band Carissa’s Wierd, to name a few -- Fermata’s members list their main influences as “fairytales, storybooks, novels and life.”

This isn’t to say that the band doesn’t have any musical forbears: Members of the group say they’ve been shaped by Sheryl Crow, Red Hot Chili Peppers and even Tool. It’s just that their own creations don’t bear a huge resemblance to their musical sources of inspiration.
Plus, it’s a bit hard to imagine what a storybook might sound like until you listen to a track off of one of Fermata’s albums. After you do, it all begins to make sense: This is a band that doesn’t think of a song as a sound poem or a conversation between different instruments as much as a piece of dramatic literature.

The song “Zura,” featured on the band’s new album Only Ghosts Remain, seems to summon the dark theatrics of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings rather than the spirit of coffeeshop folk or arena rock. A haunting introduction by the band’s string section gives way to a driving vocal melody that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Broadway production.

Jon Koschoreck, the band’s guitarist, says the track’s literary feeling also stems from the fact that it’s a story, not just a song.
“It’s one of three songs on the album that have a short story written behind it to help further develop the characters and storyline of the song,” he says. “We plan on revealing these stories at shows in the coming months after our CD release.”

-Jessica Steinhoff, 1/27/2009
- Isthmus

"Fermata's Debut Album"

[Fermata's] performance boils with anthem-like intensity and is best heard up close and without distractions. Despite looking like a bluegrass ensemble, Fermata takes its cues from classical and hard rock, and singer Lisa Mazza has a voice that's more Seether than Pete Seeger.

-Katjusa Cisar, 1/29/2009
- 77 Square

"only ghosts remain"

...There's a confidence here that makes what they do feel light, effortless. Despite the somber mood they evoke this confidence gives a sense of hope and positiveness to the work. "Only Ghosts Remain" is a chamber pop album for goths-who-smile. This collection proves that all "gothic americana" doesn't have to be gutter tales of depravity and desperation.

They owe this success to several elements:
They're obviously skilled musicians and, for once, the super clean production actually works in a band's favor and lets individual perfomers shine while still keeping the sound cohesive.

They also have a solid understanding of -contemporary- rock music. While no song on Fermata's first full-length "RAWKS" (thankfully) neither does this sound like a dated re-creation of previous folk-rock match ups from the 90s, 70s or 60s. The band has pulled off a remarkable coup by making an all acoustic album sounds fresh. Kudos.

At the heart of all of this is a knowledge of the slight-of-hand found in gospel music. What you're listening to may sound, at first, sober, almost sad, then it hits you with an uplifting swing that redirects your mindset. This musical 180 is most clearly illustrated in the songs "Zura" and "The Woodsman", here the vocals take a heroic upswing that pulls us to our feet, that lifts our head to the sky.

Fermata should lift their heads high too, this is a very well done album.

- sepiachord.com

"Fermata Only Ghosts Remain"

FERMATA – Only Ghosts Remain

(2008 Self-Release)

Fermata’s progression from their first EP recorded in January 2005 to their latest release in 2008 is nothing short of remarkable.
The band’s second release in late 2005, Through the Distance & the Dark, was a step forward but nothing in comparison to the current release, Only Ghosts Remain, which represents a giant leap forward. Through the Distance was marred by inferior production, spotty vocals, uneven tempos and ultimately sounded uninspired. Only Ghosts Remain, however, sounds like the Fermata concept has finally resolved itself. Gone altogether are the drums and distorted guitars, replaced with eerie mandolins, banjos and strings and one powerful vocalist by the name of Lisa Mazza. It’s as if only ghosts remain from Fermata’s former incarnation.

In short, you have not heard local music this earthy since Noah John. From the first notes of Cody Davis’s bowed bass, the intensity is apparent. The brief intro, where Davis is joined by Carl Stuen’s viola and Matthew Manske’s banjo, sets the tone for the rest of the album; a folk-infected Gothic stew with metal tendencies. Koschoreck takes some vocals as well and he and Mazza can become entwined in a melodic dance that summons darkness, night, love, rain, loneliness; themes that reoccur lyrically throughout the recording.

The move to Paradyme Studios (Jake Johnson co-produced) was a good one as the sonic quality is very pleasing and flourishes in the production abound. The drums are barely missed in these songs and one can almost imagine a band of gypsies gathered around a fire summoning their demons with possessed dancers twirling in madness around them. In fact, the tune “Gypsy Blood” is a standout with a remarkable mandolin solo from Manske and a responding solo from Stuen on violin. Here the banjo is also entirely appropriate. They follow this up with Koschoreck’s “Gunshots,” a really creepy tune with lyrics like “Her eyes, her eyes are gunshot wounds…” Their use of songs that segue seamlessly into other songs shows a maturity in their arranging ability and also that Only Ghosts Remain was well thought out. The ballad “I Swear to You” shows off Mazza’s vocal range and power. “The Coldframe” is another chiller with tight, staccato passages that create sufficient tension and reinforce the fact that this ensemble can do just fine without a drum set cluttering things up.

The point is, Fermata have a collection of songs here that could easily have gone in another direction: More drums, more distorted guitars, more typical Gothic metal. But they chose an alternate path and that’s what makes Fermata special. Their only problem may lie in finding suitable venues for which to reproduce their dynamic sound as it’s difficult to envision them going over in noisy Midwestern taverns. Being lost and looking for home is another theme that reoccurs in Only Ghosts Remain. It appears that Fermata, as a band, has found its way. - Local Sounds Magazine

"Fermata- Only Ghosts Remain"

[...] Fermata's musc is a joy to the senses. Each song will fill you with joy, sadness, frustration, excitement and a myriad of other things. One thing is certain, you will feel something when you listen, because their music is more than just simple tunes that can pass through your ears each day and not mean much of anything. These songs will stick with you, because you want them to, because they are so beautiful that they can't be forgotten [like every] other song that is tossed at the listeners on a daily basis. [...]

-Andrea Guy, 2/22/2009
- http://community.livejournal.com/mossip

"Fermata holds your attention"

[Fermata] brings a hard rock sensibility to acoustic music.

Fermata doesn't live by the rock 'n' roll maxim that louder is better. And that probably wouldn't surprise you if you've seen the instruments the band members play: viola, mandolin, banjo, accordion, upright bass and acoustic guitar.

But looks are deceiving. They're not playing bluegrass, Irish folk or old-timey country. Instead, the local five-piece string band counts hard rock like Tantric, Days of the New, Seether and Shinedown among their influences.

- Katjusa Cisar, 8 Jan 2009 - 77 Square


The band Fermata evokes a forgotten gothic era. An era with a certain raw, earthy melancholy atmosphere permeating all it contacts. [...] the listener is whisked off to a musical [ride] of passion and excitement. [...] spellbinding [...]

- Andrew Frey, 8 Jan 2009 - Maximum Ink

"Fermata's Performances"

I have enjoyed Fermata's performances here at The Frequency. The band's live show is always a bending, twisting musical experience with subtle yet urgent nuances.

- Darwin Sampson, Owner of The Frequency, Madison, WI


'Fermata is completely unique - to have the depth and power that is typical of classical music, but with a rock edge and an alternative darkness. Beautifully artistic and eloquent, crossing musical boundaries at every turn.'
- Jake Johnson- Owner/Head Engineer Paradyme Productions


'Powerful cinematic songwriting. Impassioned aural delivery. Razor sharp execution. Fermata.' - Jake Johnson- Owner/Head Engineer Paradyme Productions


EP released July 2008.

Full-length album "Only Ghosts Remain" released December 2008.



Combining the intimacy of chamber music with the boldness of rock, Fermata weaves together a sound that is fresh and invigorating. The union of traditional string instruments with hard-edged rock ballads and complex song structures forms the foundation of what Fermata calls �acoustic chamber rock.� Fermata aims to push the limits of acoustic string music by blurring the lines between traditional genres such as classical, pop, folk, rock and bluegrass and finding new techniques to pull percussion and energy from stringed instruments.

In 2005 Jon Koschoreck founded Fermata as a way to bring his music to audiences. As Fermata�s lead songwriter and guitarist, Koschoreck has been the major force behind the music, helping to guide the group as it searches to be original and profound. The inspiration for many of Fermata�s songs comes from personal experiences as well as fiction. Some of the songs are based on Koschoreck�s novellas, giving the songs additional depth and detail. In all of the songs, Fermata aims to combine melody and harmony with the poetry of the words to create art that is dramatic and moving.

Originating as an electric rock group, Fermata was retooled in 2007 as an acoustic ensemble. The acoustic instruments match Koschoreck�s earthy, organic musical style. After bringing classically trained vocalist Lisa Mazza and bassist Cody Davis into the group, Fermata moved towards its new sound by recruiting Matt Manske on the mandolin and Karl Stuen on the viola. The stand-up bass forms the percussive and harmonic foundation of the ensemble with guitar and mandolin filling out the chords, harmony and rhythm. Soprano vocals intertwine with the viola to create haunting melody and counter-melody lines that soar through the aural textures. Coming from diverse backgrounds in rock, classical, jazz, and hip-hop music, the musicians of Fermata strive to break new ground with a sound that is both accessible and unique.