Day Six: “Academy Clonez” – The Plastic Arts

Though Berkeley has always carried a certain kind of charm, it wasn’t until the tail end of high school I got caught in its gravity. Between artsy destinations like California Jazz Conservatory and the Berkeley Rep, iconic streets like Telegraph and Shattuck, and independent music chains like Amoeba and Rasputin’s, you can’t help but feel inspiration reverberating beneath your feet.

I was visiting some family in California a couple years back when I connected with some old friends who happened to be working in Berkley at the time. In the midst of updating each other on our lives, one of them introduced me to this local artist and I was stunned. To this day whenever I hear “Waiting for You (To Come Dance)” I’m transported back to cruising the streets of Berkeley in a Zipcar with my friend, his girlfriend, a classmate of ours, and a Flat Stanley.

For me, this album is a huge affirmation of the music I make. One, because “I’m Fine” is reminiscent of the music I wrote in high school; but also because of its minimalist approach. You won’t hear a drum beat. You won’t hear background vocals. In fact, you won’t even hear a second guitar. It’s just Kyle Terrizzi and his guitar and it more than suffices.

Because of its stripped down nature, we get to hear the poetry of the lyrics. It’s an honest record that deals with love, loss, and the letting go of dreams.

While there are lots to learn from this album one thing I immediately picked up is the usage of a capo and the importance of key. Terrizzi knows his voice, which sounds great, and he writes his songs in keys that compliment it – even if it means capos on high frets. But I’m also reminded of the power of songwriting. This album makes you feel.

While I can’t say I’ll follow in the same minimalist approach in future projects, I do feel like this album asks a very important question: if I were to strip away all the sonic fluff from a song of mine, would it be able to hold its own?

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