The Significance of the Band Alphanaut
Reflections on the upcoming Nov. 12 Los Angeles show at The Mint
Much has been said about how as a society we’re grappling with finding ways to experience positivity and real meaning, to look for new great things in these challenging times.
I can’t promise you that there is any one sign of better things to come, but I do want to explain why I believe that the sensational songwriter Mark Alan and his magnificent Alphanaut band’s coming to LA marks a significant moment within the world of music. This special upcoming show at The Mint on November 12 launches Alan’s brilliant recordings into the live Los Angeles space for the first time, and the importance of this happening should not be missed.
For context, as a musician and music writer, I’ve become increasingly immune to the waves of excitement that would first hit me when I would discover a not yet fully famed musical talent. Yes, some extremely talented artists whom I had talked with and reviewed very positively relatively early on, like Rachel Platten or LP, did quickly ascend to far greater, even stratospheric heights. However, in truth, plenty more who were very worthy of great accolades as well didn’t have that type of breakthrough. The depth of LA music talent made me feel strangely, and sort of sadly, inundated by good music. Somehow, the strong extent and degree of quality, in its repetitiveness, had become an almost discouraging force.
So, the point is that, at the time when I first heard the music of Alphanaut, I had gotten in the habit of tuning out new music, and expected to be only half listening. However, within moments this incredible sound quickly captured my joyful and full attention. Here was something brilliant and distinct, something sonically unique with its own aesthetic.
Sure, you could see some specific electronic and rock influences here and there, including Bowie, but despite these great influences, Alphanaut’s music was clearly the vision of a uniquely original artist. Sonically, there is a buoyant spaciousness to Alphanaut’s production, an atmosphere that evokes Eno’s best collaborations, but that also holds its own vibrant space. There is an imagination and emotion to the sound that is echoed in the sensibility of the lyrics.
I agreed immediately to interview Mark. His thoughts on social activism, on artistry, on social dialogue, on pushing boundaries — it all resonated. I met with him further and learned more about his unique process as a songwriter. Empathetic, thoughtful, and friendly, Mark articulated his powerful vision as an artist with candor, clarity and genuine enthusiasm.
Today, as I speak with him about the upcoming gig at The Mint, Mark’s enthusiasm can also be strongly felt. He says:
“After nearly a decade of working within the Alphanaut universe exclusively as a recording project, I’m very excited to finally be taking the songs to the stage. The talented musicians I have backing me have expanded the material, bringing in new elements of jazz, funk and rock. We plan on debuting one or two brand new songs the night of November 12th during our show at The Mint, which will be our first ever Los Angeles appearance. We’re looking forward so very much to the experience of sharing this music with our LA fans!”
I know the level of attention Alphanaut has put into the details of rehearsing the music, the lighting, the visuals, and more. And, as a side note, having heard the new and impressive instrumental album Ethers and Abstractions, with its distinct moods and subtle touches, also adds to this sense that Alphanaut’s arrival in Los Angeles is significant in many ways, large and small. Most of all, I know that you’ll be glad you came to The Mint to enjoy a true artist performing powerful original music.
As we “look to the future” in our search for positivity and substance, Alphanaut’s energies truly seem to be in unique sonic alignment with the start of something very good. One senses that, at the very least, the band can transcend any current circumstances in propelling LA on its musical orbit. While no one can say for sure where this Space Odyssey will bring us as Alphanaut takes flight in Mint condition here in the city of angels, it’s bound to be a remarkable and joyful journey.