Asklepius – ‘Relative to a Mood’

Jeff Cubbison

Detroit band fuses prog, post-rock, jazz & more on inspiring new EP

Asklepius is a band from Detroit comprised of Justin Groppuso-Cook (keys), Dave Alpern (Bass) and Matt Smiley (drums). The trio is wholly unique and forward-thinking, capturing a mesmerizing elixir of post-rock, prog, jazz, ambient, and a dash of electronica. Last week they took their sound to hypnotizing new levels with the release of their latest EP Relative to a Mood, the follow-up to their excellent 2018 debut Four Shadows the Past.

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Over the course of four epic tracks, Asklepius unleash everything they’ve got in their musical arsenal. Inspiring opener “Jubilation” packs uplifting piano melodies and frenetic rapid-fire percussion, hitting stratospheric post-rock heights before relaxing into a wave of meditative ambient textures. The track walks an impressive, nervy tightrope upon which all the various layers threaten to teeter on the brink of collapse while always plowing full steam ahead.

“Exalted” continues in this vein, backed by stinging synth notes that provide a searing emotional kick amidst the flurry of drums, bass and keys. Groppuso-Cook, Alpern and Smiley have a telepathic connection, able to swerve and detour on a dime as one fearless unit. And as its title suggests, “Metamorphosis” is a winding spiritual journey that runs the full gamut of Asklepius’ sound. Unfolding at a slow and sparse pace, the song steadily snowballs into a dramatic sonic spiral – all enriched by a towering saxophone assist from Jake Shadik. It’s here that the album wallows in its riveting climax, soaking up the entire spectrum of emotions.

From there, Relative to a Mood sends us out with one last powerful, prog-y, cathartic crescendo on “Ascension,” the most fitting end to a powerfully cathartic record. You can buy it HERE, and sample it below.

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