The Turtle Project
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The Turtle Project

Band Jazz Adult Contemporary

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"Intopaz Review"

by Amanda Andreen


The Turtle Project
"Magic Eight Ball"
Jazzy and upbeat, this swooning ditty is fun and catchy, full of horns, an electric guitar, a string section, and a snappy bass line. The Turtle Project shows off their musical dexterity in this number.
www.theturtleproject.com
Available on iTunes: Yes
- The Pride


"Intopaz Review"

by Jim Trageser

B+
"Intopaz"
The Turtle Project
on Tangled Records

Jason Yamaoka, who plays under the stage names Jason Turtle or J. Turtle, is active with another project: The Turtle Project. The mainstay of the local acoustic scene has put together an extended band that brings in horns and strings on its debut release, "intopaz," while keeping his rich singing voice and sharp songwriting as the heart of the music.

Using the horns more as punctuation than sonic fill, and having more of an alternative vibe than the acoustic folk that local fans may be more familiar with, the new CD reminds a bit at times of Cake. But it never gets quite that quirky, and Turtle is such a melodic songwriter that the music always has a ready accessibility about it.

This first record from the Turtle Project still feels a bit rough at the edges at times, as if Turtle and the band have yet to fully integrate the different influences they’re trying to distill. But it’s a promising start, one with some very interesting possibilities ---- and a solid collection of songs on its own.

Jason Turtle plays solo Saturday at Lestat’s in San Diego.

- North County Times


"Intopaz Review"

by Will Edwards

Intopaz is an unusual and interesting debut CD by the Turtle Project. It is a record that is broad in scope and incorporates advanced musical arrangements with pop, jazz, and rock compositions that should appeal to both the lay listener and the academic musician. The sonic experience is varied and fun. Tracks like "Day Five" do exceptionally well to blend digestible pop production with thoughtful and focused songwriting. The record, overall, exposes some limitations in the production and performances that the band's future releases will hopefully resolve. Nonetheless, Intopaz dares to explore territory that most independent bands are either afraid to explore or lack the necessary skills to do so. For that I believe much credit is due.

More complex timbres and strong jazz-based progressions throughout the album's 11 tracks make it hard to call Intopaz a pop record, however some songs are just too catchy for any other genre ("Taking It On" and "Miles In-Between"). Remnants of Toad the Wet Sprocket, one of Jason Yamaoka's big influences, can be heard throughout Intopaz as well as Jason's solo work. For example, "Maya and Adam" is a bouncy-feeling song written about a serious topic – alcoholism – in which the light-rock style mingles with the reflective subject matter in a manner that's highly reminiscent of Glen Phillips (Toad's former front man).

There is heavy usage of horns, which I'd like to hear tighten up considerably on several songs in which I felt that they conflicted with the vocals. But, that being said, I think the horns are an important reason why this record stands in its own musical category – for the better. They are used to great effect on specific tracks such as "Magic Eight Ball." I'd also level criticism regarding the vocal levels – I'd like to see Jason's voice take a more prominent place in a few of the mixes where they blend into the background too much to really command attention ("Growing Up Slowly"). The songwriting often offers up an interesting variety of topics, but their message is occasionally muted by overpowering and complex arrangements. Whether due to artistic direction or common oversight, I feel that the limitations on Intopaz often break even with the record's many strengths – this is the hallmark of a good musical exploration. Sometimes the music falls victim to an excessive array of instruments. Other times, the record feels clear, concise, and innovative (listen to "Miles In-Between").

In support of Intopaz, the Turtle Project will be filming a live music video on May 24 at Channel Twelve25, a sizable, all-ages venue at ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />172 E. Main Street in El Cajon. You can also learn more about the band online at http://www.theturtleproject.com or on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/jturtle.

- The San Diego Troubadour


"Intopaz Review"

by Cullen Hendrix

The Turtle Project tosses vaudeville, pop and jazz in a blender set on "liquefy." The result, as on "Magic Eight Ball," is smooth yet a musical concoction that comes close to what a collaboration between Steely Dan and Transfer might sound like. This will appeal to professors who still buy pot and anyone searching for a little more musical weight than standard singer/songwriter fare has to offer. - San Diego City Beat


Discography

Intopaz (full length) - Released March 1, 2008

Photos

Bio

Although it boasts an array of talents and long, varied resumes, "The Turtle Project" doesn't limit itself to musicians. This fall, the group debuted more than just a new sound. "The Turtle Project" is a whole new concept. Collaborating in a wide array of mediums--music, images, words--the artists behind "The Turtle Project" produce an original blend of jazz and folk and rock.

This isn't about fame or fortune, as Jason Turtle -- the creative mind behind the original idea -- will tell you. It's about retaining and maximizing the authentic creativity of each member, without compromising individual talents to the narrow-vision of a single band leader. Participants contribute only as long as it's enjoyable.

And it's working. Created this summer, the group has yet to reach its full audience. But the word is spreading--fast.