Say Speaker Speak
An analog whine wavers and warbles, then a rumble, a shake and the bass line slips into an undulating groove with insistent percussion. Guitar saunters in and out as a dreamy voice lilts amid the tempest, with the choppy seas below and just the hint of sunshine arcing through the clouds. This is your entry into the world of Aquila Rose; a world of rich, dark pageantry and intricate detail, but also of commanding, unrelenting rhythmic propulsion and energy. Aquila Rose is a Philadelphia quartet featuring drummer Areif Sless-Kitain, bassist Dan Snyder, guitarist Brian Ziprin and keyboardist/vocalist Mikele Edwards. The band grew out of local stalwart South Congress, and all members have been playing together since 2002. After a stylistic shift and slight lineup change the band decided upon a new name. A resident of colonial Philadelphia, Aquila Rose was a British expatriate poet and close friend of Ben Franklin. Aquila Rose is concerned with crafting tunes collaboratively and developing improvisations into songs. Emphasis is often placed on rhythm, and the way in which it informs every aspect of song, from backbeat and bass line to melody and vocal line. Dynamics, subtle time shifts and jazz-like manipulation are also keystones of the band's sound. Taking cues from afro-beat, dub, rock, soul and jazz mixed with a healthy dose of punk rock upbringing and aesthetics, Aquila Rose can be raucous or delicate, often in the course of one song. The result is a pulsing, often surprising and always affecting exploration of sound and mood. In the summer of 2005 the band released their debut under the name Aquila Rose, Say Speaker Speak, recorded by Jeff Zeigler at Philadelphia's Uniform Recording Studios. 'Since abandoning it's post-hardcore sound and letting keyboardist/vocalist Mikele Edwards take center stage, Aquila Rose has come into it's own. The band's debut, 'Say Speaker Speak,' is like a warmer version of Tortoise without the wank.' -Sara Sherr for the Philadelphia Daily News, Friday, October 07, 2005 'Aquila Rose performs a cerebral mix of punk and prog-rock, taking jazzy shifts in time signatures amid the finely crafted playing.' -Michael Harrington for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, Feb 05, 2006 'Philly's Aquila Rose plays appealing rock that combines sleek yet tense atmospheres, bearing traces of jazz and Afro-beat, with bell-like female vocals.' -Time Out New York, Feb 9-15, 2006.