Eddie Lascu 7-May-2008 Third Level Project - Connected

The story of Third Level Project is an interesting one and it could only happen because we are leaving in very exciting times where the Internet allows us to interact even when we are in fact thousands of miles away. The project was started several years ago by Doug Millaway (keyboards, guitars) and Rob Denton (guitars), two musicians from central Minnesota. They got connected after an Internet add ran by Millaway. The two musicians worked together and wrote some material, but felt that someone else should be added to the project in order to record the music. They placed adds on the Internet, trying to find other musicians that could get involved with the band. 2 independently produced albums were released in 2003 and 2005 under the name Third Level.

For the next album, Canadian Bob Johnson (saxophones), originating from Ottawa was asked to join their ranks and this core started to record the music. Here is the catch, though, each musician recorded the music from his own studio. Audio files were shared over the Internet, while Millaway was also playing the role of the producer, mixing the tracks together. Often times he would re-record the rhythmic sections and would re-arrange the audio tracks, making this pretty much an art process.

With this line-up, Third Level Project released “Connected” in the year 2006.

Johnson’s versatile sax playing allowed the band to expand the sound upon the dynamics of Denton’s guitars and Millaway’s keyboards textures. As you can see, there is no rhythmic section, the drums and the bass being laid over by Millaway’s synth machine. The music is a laid-back fusion of styles, a mixture of contemporary jazz, soft, commercial jazz, with hints of instrumental rock, funk, even a bit of ambient induced by the frequent electronic samples seasoned over the harmonies. Both Denton and Johnson are playing with a lot of soul at that is reflected by the warmth that is irradiated from all the songs on this album.

“Connected” had initially more success in Europe through Internet radio airtime, but interest has started to pick up lately on the other side of the big pond.

Seeing that this type of connection is working, Third Level Project has recruited Filippo Bertacche, a drummer from Italy and Paul Wheeler, a bass guitarist from Australia. The band is currently recording more material and will soon release a new album. For the time being, they will stick to the same modus-operandi, sharing audio files over the Internet and once all the instruments are recorded, mixing them together in Millaway’s studio.

This is definitely a project that must be followed, especially when the rhythmic section will be real.

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