Quickly becoming a transcendent figure in the Milwaukee music scene, Jaems Murphy’s latest project, Etherium Ensemble, claws at a certain sonic purity that will draw him notoriety that is likely unsought. Adhering thoughtful progressive rock to ambient jazz, soul and neo-soul sub genres, Etherium Ensemble took the floor for an November performance at Circle A Cafe in Riverwest.
Bestowing an uplifting and reflective set of compositions, Etherium Ensemble is a sextet containing guitar (Murphy), bass (Bob Schabb) trumpet (Brett Westfahl), drums (Demetrus Ford), vocalist (Keshena Armon), and vibraphone (Michael Neumeyer), all possessing extensive expressive proclivities.
The word that most comes to mind if I were to describe Etherium Ensemble is authentic; authentic in their intent, authentic in their commitment, and authentic in their desire to pay tribute to the all voices that contribute to Milwaukee’s creative spirit.
About that vibraphone, until Etherium Ensemble, this element is one that I have yet to see incorporated in a Milwaukee act. Mike Neumeyer does Roy Ayers proud (one of the definitive American Jazz Vibes composers), working his way end-to-end on the chimed instrument clutching two felted mallets. In the sound-scape of Etherium Ensemble, the vibes venerably takes the place of keyboard, and expands that role to offer warmer tones to the range of notes that section usually imparts.
Jaems Murphy also headlines Vedic Eden, a amorphous project leaning on alternative rock foundations. Vedic Eden was recently included in a blog post from The Examiner announcing “11 acts you may not be paying attention to…”. Go ahead and throw Etherium Ensemble on that list, and to give Jaems Murphy two spots in 2015.