Perplexity of Things
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Perplexity of Things

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"Perplexity of Things (Brent Bartley) - Motion Picture Soundtrack"

The difficulty with describing the music on Motion Picture Soundtrack is that music speaks so strongly for itself considering the majority of it is instrumental. The music itself is very dense in the sense that it contains many layers and quite often, the listener won’t catch everything contained each song after hearing it for the first time. The EP is almost like hearing someone meld the shoe gazer grooves of My Bloody Valentine with the astounding instrumental moods of Mogwai. Perplexity of Things is the brain child of Brent Bartley, who not only performs all of the music entirely on his own, but handles production and mixing duties, as well. Bartley blends an array of instruments to create deep soundscapes through emotional instrumental passages, rather than simple songs with a catchy chorus. Each tune clearly has a structure to it, but none of the tracks are built like simple pop songs. Perplexity of Things uses a diverse arsenal of guitar hooks that weave themselves in between atmospheric keyboards that soar over mellow electronic beats.

It’s fitting that the EP is called Motion Picture Soundtrack due to the fact that the instrumental sections allow the music, rather than the lyrics, to conjure emotion through imagery on the majority of the disc. On “Sweet Nothings” Bartley reminisces about a romantic rendezvous he never forgot when he sings, “Whisper in my ear/tell me that you need me so dear/take me away here/with you I’ll never disappear”. The name Perplexity of Things might suggest there is something complicated about the music, but it’s just the soundtrack to one man seeing vision through to end, one track at a time.

Review by Alex Young - FAZER Magazine - Review by Alex Young


"EP Review: Perplexity Of Things…A Motion Picture Soundtrack"

‘The Perplexity Of Things’ is Toronto based singer/songwriter and musician Brent Bartley. ‘A Motion Picture Soundtrack’ is his second Indie release following the cult success of Still Life. Definitely reminiscent of the classic electronic but with melodic sounds of Great Britain (Depeche Mode, New Order and Ultravox instantly springs to mind) the title of the new EP is well named.

While listening to each of the six tracks on A Motion Picture, you cannot help but feel as if you are being transported to another time and another place while being serenaded by a chorus of diving and swooping sounds and images. This is especially apparent on the track ‘Spirits’ whose haunting yet beautiful melody stirs your mind and soul while transporting you to a new musical sphere.

He has managed to successfully redefine this difficult to reproduce or imitate musical genre by creating a more modern, clean and contemporary feel to the sound itself. Interspersed with strong guitar riffs and solid vocals - just like a movie reel, you feel that on every track, there is something new to discover on each musical frame.

It is clear that from the overall production of the EP, the quality of the song writing and the musicianship encapsulated on A Motion Picture Soundtrack, this is the release that may lead to Brent one day actually scoring a real movie and opening the door to what can only be described a very, very bright future.

Review by Cheryl Hoar
- My Living Room! Radio Show - Review by Cheryl Hoar


"Album Review: Perplexity of Things - A Motion Picture Soundtrack"

Every now and then, you hear some music that surprises you. Not through its technicality, or through its groundbreaking composition: because it’s unexpected. ‘A Motion Picture Soundtrack’, a summer EP by ‘Perplexity of Things’ has done exactly that.

In all honesty, Brent Bartley is hardly a name that I’m familiar with, and equally, under the pseudonym of ‘Perplexity of Things’, I find myself struggling to recollect any degree of familiarity. Sometimes though, the better things in life are surprises. And in these six tracks, Bartley has created the most laid back, ambience filled, offering I have heard this year.

To try and define this record in terms of genre is difficult, and arguably something that should be avoided altogether. To get an impression of how this sounds, take Owl City and Daft Punk at their most refined, turn the tempo down, and relax. It really is as simple as that. Perhaps though, this demonstrates the strength of this record. Nothing about the release is complex, and nothing about it is complicated. If you’re looking for vocal hooks, and riffs, this EP isn’t going to be for you.

Bartley wrote, recorded, produced and mixed this record - albeit with some help - but his efforts have to be commended. He even found time to produce the accompanying artwork. From atmospheric opener ‘I’m Only Dreaming’, to other tracks, such as the instrumental ‘Melancholy’, the EP remains relaxed, restrained and ambient.

Before hearing this record, ‘Perplexity of Things’ was an unknown entity to me, Bartley was a stranger, and his home surroundings of Toronto, Canada, held little relevance. In a time of uncertainly though, this free EP is both refreshing and relevant. Check it out, you might be surprised, I was.

4/5

Review by Chris Powers - Alter the Press! - Review by Chris Powers


"PERPLEXITY OF THINGS - MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK"

Brent Bartley of Perplexity Of Things never fails to impress me. I’ve been following him during the progression of completing their last album, STILL LIFE, all the way releasing this brand new EP earlier this month. A Motion Picture Soundtrack was titled perfectly and rightfully so, for the album feels like you’re being pulled through a modern love story film trailer. The quality of Perplexity’s work, from production to songwriting, has matured and has never sounded better.

A musical concoction, consisting of perfectly measured amounts of The Cure and Sigur Ros combined, this album sounds like a recorded dream. Opening with the song “I’m Only Dreaming”, it has an uplifting start to the album. Postal Service-like dance beats married with a beautifully melodic chord progression gives you the perfect taste to what this album is all about. The second track, “In The End”, has a very emotional beginning with deep string sounds, and then surprises you seconds later with a great dance beat. Not to mention the guitar riffs on this song are so catchy, you’ll wish you had written them. Surprisingly, a current and popular musical trend in vocal effects is used in this song; a vocoder. What’s even more surprising is how well it works. Watch out, Kanye. This song keeps getting better every time I listen to it.

By far, my most favorite track on the album is “Spirits”. This song is so perfectly titled, for singer Brent Bartley’s voice makes wavering appearances throughout the track; hidden in the background like ghosts calling out from a staticy television. It has a very dreamy, bittersweet feel to it and I find myself constantly hitting repeat.

“Melancholy”, as well as the last track on the album, “With Me”, are short but sweet musical interludes. They help carry on the tone and theme of the album like somber, electronic lullabies. “Sweet Nothings” is another song that carries on the Cure-like atmospheric sound, but with electronic beat and synth line a la Depeche Mode. Could this be P.O.T.’s token love song? I think so.

Over all, I guarantee that you will never skip a song while listening to this album. It flows so naturally, and will bring soothing sighs to your lips. And he is oh so kindly giving away a free digital download of the complete album here. Check out their myspace immediately!

4.5/5
- Shirk Magazine


Discography

Time & Space (2010):

01. Fork in the Road [3:19]
02. Time & Space [3:35]
03. I’m Only Dreaming (Alternate Version) [4:54]

A Motion Picture Soundtrack (2009):

01. I’m Only Dreaming [3:54]
02. In the End [3:58]
03. Spirits [5:41]
04. Melancholy [2:03]
05. Sweet Nothings [4:39]
06. With Me [2:20]

Still Life (2007):

01. In Today’s News [4:30]
02. A False Perception [3:51]
03. Look, See [3:36]
04. Still Life [3:55]
05. Heart Beat [3:29]
06. Self Reflection [3:21]

All songs written and performed by Brent Bartley
© perplexity of things (SOCAN)

I'm Only Dreaming and In the End have received moderate internet radio airplay on stations such as IndieCan Radio, KRCC Colorado, My Living Room! Radio Show and CBC Radio 3.

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Bio

Perplexity of Things is the creative efforts of Brent Bartley. Brent, a native of Toronto Ontario, writes and performs all of the music himself. Working with good friend and studio engineer Adam Fair, Perplexity of Things have independently released three EPs: Still Life (2007), A Motion Picture Soundtrack (2009) and the latest, Time & Space (released May 2010). The music of Perplexity of Things is best described as a blend between Depeche Mode and The Cure with a little bit of Bloc Party and Sigur Ros thrown into the mix. Featuring rich string sounds, melodic guitars and catchy electronic beats.

After releasing the first Perplexity EP, in late 2007, Brent quickly returned to the studio to record the follow up. A Motion Picture Soundtrack was written and recorded from the summer of 2008 to the winter of 2009. The EP originally had Roger O’ Donnell, long time keyboard player and member of The Cure, attached to co-produce. After a couple of months of discussing ideas, however, Roger was unable to further commit to the project due to time constraints. A Motion Picture Soundtrack was released as a free download and a limited digipak CD in April 2009. The release was warmly received by fans and critics alike. With some calling it ‘refreshing and relevant,’ featuring ‘diverse guitar hooks and solid vocals.’

Brent released his third EP, entitled Time & Space, on May 22, 2010. Like the previous release, Time & Space was released as a free digital download in a variety of formats. Positive reviews are currently pouring in, with many considering this to be Perplexity of Things’ strongest material to date.

June 2010