EP review: Silo - 20/20 (2020)
While Augusta, Georgia may be most memorable for the Masters golf tournament, last November Richmond County hit the headlines for the far more important reason, where a huge win helped Joe Biden take the State by a narrow margin over Donald Trump in the 2020 US election, sending Biden to the White House. Augusta is also the home of some legendary artists including James Brown, Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs/Deep Purple), Jessye Norman (opera), and Terri Gibbs (country). Local music has always flourished in Augusta, supported by a network of local venues covering everything from folk to blues to metal, and into that mix come Silo, a project spurred by the need to play music that the members’ other bands wouldn’t be able to perform. They’ve been writing music together for years but more recently they’ve redesigned the band as a trio capable of live performance and put out the 20/20 EP in August last year.
Comprised of Michael Dinkins (drums, keyboards), Eric Rinker (guitar, production) and Travis Shaw (bass), they play a unique blend of melody- and groove-oriented instrumental math-jazz-rock fusion.
Dinkins’ description of their influences doesn’t really prepare you for their sound. Rinker, brought up listening to southern and British classic rock, started out as a drummer with his first band, Gearbox, channelling The Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden then, moving between bands, helped out with songwriting on guitar.
Dinkins was raised on music as varied as classic rock from the 50s and 60s, disco, Kiss, New Wave and New Romantic, and started a thrash band when Slayer and Megadeth were prominent in the early 90s. Dinkins met Rinker in 2004, who at the time was in a band with Dinkins’ cousin, and in 2010 the three of them were members of Artemia, an outfit transformed by Rinker from struggling purveyors of prog/thrash into a prolific art rock group, where Silo has its roots.
Locally based Travis Shaw became involved in 2015. A bassist who was best known for his jazz work, Shaw began playing at age 14 and later attended the Atlanta Institute of Music. Returned to Augusta, he played in rock, jazz and classical idioms, even performing with the Augusta Symphony. Shaw joined Dinkins and Rinker Eric and another local guitarist, Will Duckworth, in a short-lived band We Are The Audience before Will departed.
During Artemia’s lifetime, a body of music had accumulated at a rate that could not be developed by the band, so Dinkins began to work on this music as a studio project under the banner of Silo. He contributed keyboard parts to Rinker’s musical framework while Rinker continued developing as a music producer; the majority of this music is found on Silo’s first album called Noah’s Lark from 2016 and features Dinkins, Rinker, Shaw and Duckworth.
New material continued to be collected and the Interference EP was released under the Silo moniker in 2017, with Duckworth adding guitar on a single track.
The remaining trio reconvened in 2018 as Silo, an actual band. Combining revisited and reworked sections of previously released Silo material with a host of new ideas, they assembled the themes for the new EP 20/20. Bar the first track Zero Pine, this new music is all-instrumental. Zero Pine has hints of Adrian Belew, and while less knotty than Discipline-era King Crimson, which must have been an influence, it’s a clever piece with intelligent lyrics. The other music on the EP is similar in structure, based on shifting rhythmical patterns, staccato attack, melodic passages and splashes of jazz rock. It’s certainly music that deserves a wider audience.
Favourite track: Fuser (part 2)
Watch the video for The Penguin here: https://youtu.be/UCF1zzbysi8