(04 November 2002) After Epic Records cancelled its contract with October Project, their beloved fans were left bewildered by what appeared to be a severe lapse in judgment on the part of Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Considered by critics and fans aliketo be one of the best new bands of the 1990s, October Project created music that was uniquely lush and provocative.
The primary composer for the original October Project was the gifted Emil Adler. Wife and partner Julie Flanders provided thelyrical content of the band's material. Together, the two provided the foundation upon which singers Mary Fahl and Marina Belica added their rich and distinctive vocals.
After the demise of October Project, Mary Fahl and Marina Belica embarked upon solo careers. Emil Adler and Julie Flanders, after some time off, formed November Project. The two went on the hunt for a charismatic and talented lead female singer and discovered Maryanne Marino. Combining the earthy quality of Sarah McLachlan and the clarity of Suzanne Vega, Maryanne's voice was the perfect vehicle for Julie's words and a beautiful match for Emil's music.
The trio were joined by Doug Yowell (drums), Mike Visceglia (bass), and Rob Friedman (guitars). Together, November Project released their only recording, an EP entitled "A Thousand Days"in 1999. Despite the fact that the EP contains only five tracks, each song is so beautifully crafted on the album, that any fan of October Project will find the EP to be a must have.
Upon hearing the first few measures of the opening title track, "A Thousand Days," it is obvious that Julie and Emil were back in true form. Julie's poignant and though-provoking lyrics are sung with deep conviction by Maryanne. The melody of the song demonstrates Emil's sensational trademark ability to write complex and impactful music.
"Out of the Past" is a solidly rocking number that allows Maryanne to make full use of her vocal range. Complete with organ and strumming guitars, the song moves from mysterious and haunting minor chords to sweet and full major chords in the chorus. The bittersweet and touching "It is Time" is a transporting piece that strongly echoesSarah McLachlan's "Elsewhere." Throughout, the skill of the players is strongly apparent.
Piano, keyboards, guitar, drums, and bass all combine to provide a scintillating backdrop for Maryanne's vocals. The unusual beginning of "Are You Sleeping" immediately demands the listeners attention.By the time the song reaches its pre-chorus and chorus, one realizes that this song will be another classic Adler/Flanders piece. The melody and timing seem to move all over the place without ever sounding disconnected or unharmonious. Original and inventive.
"Endless Circle" is simply one of the best folk songs this reviewer has ever heard. With its almost medieval sounding instrumentation and Maryanne's emotional voicings, "Endless Circle" provides a perfect finale for the EP.
After listening to the EP, it is clear that Emil is endowed with a real, true, and beautiful gift as a composer. Equally, Julie Flanders harbors such skill as a lyricist that it seems that the two were almost destined to do what they are doing together--almost as if the largeness of their repsective talents could only be matched and complimented by the other's great ability.
Much to the sorrow of October Project and November Project fans, November Project broke up after releasing "A Thousand Days" but before a full length album could be released. However, Emil and Julie have rejoined forces with October Project vocalist Marina Belica and are currently working on a new full-length album under the name October Project (EP review). In addition, Julie and Emil have collaborated with the vocalist Sylvia Tosun on her first EP (review) release. Although it has been a bumpy ride for artists and fans alike, the wonderful fact is that Emil and Julie continue to create inspired music together. The fans are listening and eagerly await whatever "projects" Julie and Emil have in store for us in the future!--Justin Elswick