Ishmael
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Ishmael

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Progressive

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"Ishmael: Lotic"

Our friends at Brooklyn recording collective Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen have released yet another exceptional album, Lotic, by math-rock wizards Ishmael. The band of Andy Werle, Aaron Silberstein and Nick Otte have produced one of the standout works of the year. This album has everything, virtuoso performances, sterling production and superlative songwriting. If you want to hear what can simply be described as post-rock perfection, stream and download Lotic at the link below. - Floorshime Zipper Boots


"Ishmael Talks New EP"

Ishmael is busy these days. Invigorated with new material after recording an EP in the dead of night in New York’s Tarbox Studios, the band reemerged at Earth House this past Saturday for a triumphant, proggy whirlwind of new tracks (like the infectious, rhythmically-baffling “Feet Stomp”), well-worn older jams, and...an impromptu Tool cover?

Anyways, I caught up with the vastly gifted Wes-based four-piece, which includes familiar faces Jordan Lewis ’13 and Andy Werle ’12, as well as McGill’s Nick Otte and NYU’s Aaron Silberstein to talk about new material, legendary engineer Tim Palmer, and the pros and cons of Katy Perry’s “Part Of Me.”



The Argus: Tell us about the new EP.

Ishmael: The songs are only a small portion of our original repertoire, so we were just trying to get all the colors of ourselves across as effectively as possible, and we think these songs were the right choices for that. I’d say we jumped at the chance to experiment a bit more with the toys at our disposal.



A: What influenced you most while recording it?

I: We were actually listening to the 24-track master tapes to “Killer Queen.” You can hear Freddie breathing.



A: How did you manage to get set up with Tim Palmer in the first place?

I: After we were finished with all of the actual recording and we were finished with nearly all of the “production” work, it was basically just a matter of doing our research about who we wanted to mix the record. We always knew that we wanted someone “professional” to do the final mixes and it just came down to finding someone that we trusted who would also agree to do the project. Luckily, Tim was very responsive to the music and really liked the rough mix that we sent him of “Kansas 1943 (In The Future).” He basically agreed to the project after hearing this first song.



A: What was it like working with him?

I: Getting the songs mixed was a weird experience because Tim lives in Austin, Texas. After we sent him the files on hard drives, we would suddenly get an email every couple of days with a mixed song that sounded a hundred times better than what we’d sent. The process basically consisted of sending him songs that were “at the mix stage,” and him starting with an initial pass at the song, and then two or three more mixes of each song that would be refined based on our comments. Throughout the entire process, Tim was really receptive to our input and was a pleasure to work with. Obviously, given his experience, we wanted to give him creative latitude. Sometimes, like with particular delays and reverbs, he made decisions that surprised us when we first heard them. We had gotten so used to hearing the songs sounding a particular way that when we first got them back we had to really allow ourselves to re-hear the songs like a first-time listener. It was a very interesting process to be involved in.



A: Why record in the dead of night?

I: The initial plan was to record it using our own gear in [bassist/singer] Nick’s basement. We went out to buy all this crazy shit and even borrowed a mixer that had been used to record Paula Abdul from Sugarbox Studios where Jordan was working. But by then Jordan had been working at the studio long enough that his bosses were cool with letting us record when it was free, which was basically from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. So we basically recorded in the dead of night because we had to, but in retrospect we’re happy it happened that way. There was something indescribable about being so creative, and loud, while most of New York slept, and it freed up our inhibitions so we could try some weird stuff.



A: What exactly went down with the Eclectic “bureaucratic bullshit” last semester?

I: We were all set to play there, but at 8 p.m. on the day of the show we heard through the grapevine that nobody had registered the show with the school and PSafe would shut it down if it went on at Eclectic. Luckily enough there was a show going on at Psi U the same night, and the organizers were extremely cool in letting us get a great slot at the last minute.



A: How did you get those ridiculous rhythmic parts down on [first single] “Feet Stop”?

Andy Werle: Well, our drummer Aaron tells us it’s based on an Afro-cuban Bata rhythm that we excerpted. From there it was a matter of literally taking the first thing I played over it. Sometimes we fiddle with a song forever, but “Feet Stomp” flowed.

Jordan Lewis: I can’t really comment too much on “Feet Stomp” since my part isn’t actually that complex, but I would say that in general the more complex rhythmic stuff is approached usually by us asking, “What could we do here that would really shake things up in a cool way?” Rhythmically, what we’re doing is not really that crazy, it’s just that we try to put things together in ways that sound unique to us and hopefully to our listeners.



A: What was the strangest part of playing at Earth House this weekend?

I: Trying a - The Wesleyan Argus


"Ishmael: The Psi-U Files"

“You can’t evict an idea.” So read one of the picket signs at Thursday’s protest (with more colorful lettering, I’ll concede), and that seems a fairly accurate summation of last night’s Eclectic/Psi U Ishmael Progrockstravaganza. When Ishmael‘s long-awaited homecoming with An Assortment of Crayons at Eclectic was cancelled at the last minute due to “bureaucratic bullshit” (disclaimer: I have no idea what went down), Psi U warmly invited the band onto the bill of its charity concert (disclaimer: I have no idea what went down). What survived was a thoroughly reinvigorating 45 minutes of proggy interplay, epic vocal acrobatics, twisted time signatures, and well-honed fuzz explosions. They don’t play at Wes too often these days (Earth House in September, MuHo last spring), but when they do, it’s really a delight. (“Lets still fuck this shit up!” indeed.)

As always, Ishmael is Jordan Lewis ’13, Andy Werle ’12, Nick Otte, and Aaron Silberstein. Photos of the set appear below. Additionally, the band is playing Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on Saturday the 26th (that’s next week) and assures us that a release of sorts is soon to come. - Wesleying.org


"Ishmael Rocks Mideast Upstairs"

Excerpt: "The self-described “Frippian Euphoric Post-Funk” New York foursome, comprised of Aaron Silberstein on drums, Nick Otte on bass and lead vocals, Jordan Lewis on guitar and vocals and Andy Werle on guitar, rocked the Middle East Upstairs Thursday night with a set the likes of which I have never heard before." - Boston University's The Quad


"Fresh Meat: Introducing... Ishmael"

Named after one of American literature’s oldest characters, Ishmael seamlessly blend the past with the present and at times the future…
Guitar solos aren’t what they used to be. Pardon me if I sound a bit too much like your father disparaging modern rock music, but when it comes to soloing there’s nothing more epic than some old fashioned progressive rock wankery.
Fortunately, New York City trio (yes, this much sound is coming from three fucking people) Ishmael have managed to revive the guitar solo in all of its reverb drenched glory. Their new album, Lotic, is brimming with mathy riffs, lush vocals, crisp production, and a tinge of classic rock. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing that your favourite math rock band could sound a bit more like King Crimson (with perhaps some Pink Floyd thrown in the mix), Ishmael is your band.
The best part of Ishmael, though, is how unwilling any of the band members are on settling into any of the cliches found in either progressive or math rock. The clean tapping sounds are played with virtuosic restrain, contrasting surprisingly well with the 70s guitar tone that provides most of the solos and bridges. Guitarist Andy Werle is remarkable in how his style is familiar without being too comfortable and inventive without being obnoxious. Equal credit must go to drummer Aaron Silberstein, who works with bassist/lead vocalist Nick Otte to create some of the smoothest rhythms of 2013.
All in all, this band has created a sound that contains all the tight syncopations of prog with the liveliness and contemporaneity of math rock. If you aren’t listening by now, get comfy and let the dreamy sounds of Lotic show you how guitar solos can be fun again.
Why You Should Listen: Ishmael is the kind of band with such a unique sound that even if you don’t love them, you have to respect them for being original in a sea of cookie cutter bands - Musical Mathematics


Discography

Lotic
released 10 December 2013 
Nick Otte - Bass, Lead Vocals 
Aaron Silberstein - Drums, Vocals 
Andy Werle - Guitar, Vocals 
Words & Music by Ishmael 
Produced by Ishmael & Oliver Ignatius 
Engineered by Oliver Ignatius 
Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered at Mama Cocos Funky Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York 

Telemachus (Single)

released 07 November 2013 
Nick Otte - Bass, Vocals 
Aaron Silberstein - Drums 
Andy Werle - Guitar 
Words & Music by Ishmael 
Produced by Ishmael & Oliver Ignatius 
Engineered by Oliver Ignatius 
Recorded, Mixed, & Mastered at Mama Cocos Funky Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York 

Ishmael The EP
released 20 March 2012 
Andy Werle Guitars 
Jordan Lewis Guitar, Backing vocals 
Aaron Silberstein Percussion, Wurlitzer 
Nick Otte Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Percussion 
Words & Music by Ishmael
Produced by Jordan Lewis and Ishmael 
Recorded by Jordan Lewis 
Mixed by Tim Palmer 
Recorded at Sugarbox Studios in New York

Photos

Bio

Ishmael is an independent rock trio from Brooklyn, NY. Formed in 2009, guitarist Andy Werle, drummer/ backing vocalist Aaron Silberstein, and bassist/lead vocalist Nick Otte combine melodic and rhythmic complexity with unrestrained emotionality to form their own brand of idiosyncratic rock music. They are always focused on pushing the boundaries of what their music might become while placing honesty at the forefront of every venture, musical or otherwise.

Some words about Ishmael:

"Ishmael is the kind of band with such a unique sound that even if you don't love them, you have to respect them for being original in a sea of cookie cutter bands." - Musical Mathematics

"The band of Andy Werle, Aaron Silberstein and Nick Otte have produced one of the standout works of the year. This album has everything, virtuoso performances, sterling production and superlative songwriting... what can simply be described as post-rock perfection" - Florshime Zipper Boots

"When the mystical [band] unites, they churn out stadium-sized instrumental workouts, replete with tangling guitar spirals, soaring vocals, melodic left turns, and grooves that you could dance to if you wanted. (That is, if you werent too busy head banging.)" - The Wesleyan Argus

"The band: Ishmael. The keywords: Variety, Talent, Originality. The verdict: See them live." - The Quad (BU)

"Telemachus" featured on The Math-Rock News' "Spring Compilation 2014"

Band Members