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Roots / USA

The Mercy Stone - Above the Towers

. 1 min read . Written by Krister Axel
The Mercy Stone - Above the Towers

This post was originally published in October 2018.

This song features a driving 15-beat rhythmic pattern, lush vocal harmonies, and a psychedelic vocal canon at the end that was written for a master's recital in composition. My first reaction to this kind of dynamism and odd-time embrace is a band like Tower of Power, which was once the soundtrack of my youth; this feels like a worthy extension of that raison d'être.

Jazz fusion has simmered at the edges of the music industry for decades now, and what will differentiate this song is the breadth of instrumentation, and the world flavor inherent to it. The Afro-Cuban sound has long been associated with the assimilation of rock into other styles: think Santana, or Gloria Estefan, or someone like Eddie Palmieri. Here, the time pulls you away from any sort of straight clave, and the depth of the contrapuntal structure, the dynamic control, even the lyrics, create an imagined universe full of triplets, paradiddles, and added 9ths.

It’s a satisfying, introspective, and deeply original sound, extending the power of vocal cadence and western harmony over a ragged backdrop of overlapping phrases and syncopated orchestral ostinati.

The Mercy Stone was founded by composer and guitarist Scott Grady in 2016. This song is featured on our Groovy Summer playlist.