In September 2014, Nashville-based instrumental outfit, Steelism, were introduced to a national audience with the release of their debut full-length album, 615 to FAME. The record, featuring 10 original instrumentals and one cover, became a calling card for the band's versatile yet distinct sound, drawing influence from film score composers like Ennio Morricone and '60s instrumental acts like Booker T. & the M.G.s, The Ventures and Pete Drake. With their latest effort, ism, Steelism offers a more holistic listening experience, inspired by mid- century modern design, early Brian Eno productions and 70s film scores. They also introduce featured vocalists into their instrumental canon for the first time. The result is a refreshing sonic palette with an invigorating twist on the intoxicating sounds of Steelism.
Steelism's inception was motivated by their desire to explore musically, taking chances with writing and performance that they otherwise couldn't backing other artists. With ism they continue this exploration. Elements of David Axelrod, AIR, and Pink Floyd were noted in the production of the opening track, "Re-Member." On "Eno Nothing," Jeremy Fetzer's piano and fuzz steel melody were inspired by the melodic phrasing of jazz pianist Thelonious Monk while put to a driving rhythm. The work of film score composer Lalo Schifrin, Serge Gainsbourg circa Histoire de Melody Nelson and the 1970s German Krautrock movement also inform the sonically rich tone of the record.
Steelism's ability to combine a diverse assortment of sonic flavors in a way that feels fresh & cohesive has always been a staple of the band's sound. It's there with 615 to FAME as well as with their 2012 EP The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel & Guitar and 2015 EP, The Drawing Room Vol. I. ism casts an even wider net, yet the marriage of the various elements offers a more articulate listen than previous releases, presenting a more refined & mature Steelism sound. The implementation of vocals on the album flows seamlessly with the instrumentals and those components compliment each other rather than juxtapose. If ever Steelism provided a soundtrack to life, it is with ism.