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Bandcamp Buried Treasure

ALEK DARSON Is Hands Down The Best Composer You Never Heard Of!

Hello and welcome back to the Bandcamp Buried Treasure article series, where I'll be hunting down Buy It Now/Free Download-payment option albums on Bandcamp by the best bands you've never heard! The goal is to introduce you to smaller bands or obscure side-projects you might not have heard of. Anything to expand your musical horizons by just a little bit each week, all while keeping your cost (potentially) down! This week we'll be listening to Serbian-born guitarist and composer Alek Darson!

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Alek-DarsonSometimes in my wanderings around the Bandcamp website I'll come across an artist that I simply cannot believe hasn't been shown to me by that point. An artist that displays such immense talent that the sheer fact I haven't seen them on my Facebook's news feed or messages feels like a little bit of a travesty. Obviously it's easy to dismiss this introduction as overblown copy that's trying too hard to sell you on some record, but I'm being genuine right now. Alek Darson's Panopticon is one of the best records you haven't heard this year.

Initially I wanted to call Darson's record something along the lines of "guitar music," but the more I listened the more it dawned on me that it wasn't really guitar music. This is something I could put on in the car with anyone who even has the most base appreciation of good music and they'd enjoy it. Be it the little chromatic melodies reminiscent of the Final Fantasy game series in "Flight Impressions," the big fat chunky grooves of "Sprockets" that burst into Steve Vai-esque whammy bar dives, the odd funkiness of "Waltz of Titans" that slowly devolves into an ambient classical piece, or just the odd dimensions and dynamics of "Spiral of Sanity," there's legitimately something for everyone on Panopticon. It's so much more than music that was composed solely for the purpose of excessive guitar-related masturbation. Panopticon is a small collection of musical pieces that were written with structure and overall enjoyability in mind, and that intention shows.

Then there's "The Rind," which is exactly what would have ever happened had Symphony X, Pagan's Mind and Vivien Lalu got together for a weekend and hashed out just one track (and there's vocals). It's an insane dance through twisting corridors of ever-changing instrumentation, stop-and-go riffs, 90's Dream Theater-sound sections, and enough progressive metal nerdiness to make any fan involuntarily drool.

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There is zero reason you should have hit the above play button on Panopticon and did not immediately scramble to download the record. Oh, and take the time to figure out the puzzle for the hidden sixth track "Fingers Painted Purple." It's downright amazing and worth your time, I swear!

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