Mood Swings - Juhan Ongbrian (EP Rapid Review)
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Make Music, Not War
Release: 15th November 2019
EP Rating 4 / 5
Solo Performances 4.5 / 5
Favourite Songs Moving On, Limelight
LA-based guitarist Juhan Ongbrian has released his new EP Mood Swings that combines blues, jazz and ambient into a very accomplished set of instrumental beats full of compelling grooves all in a chillout mood.
With Ongbrian on lead guitar and production, he is joined by Sly Chong on bass, Adrian 'Ech0' Michael on drums and Bilkent Samsurya on guitar as the five tracks showcase all their talent as most of the compositions were written on the spot, providing their raw and experimental sound. Standout tracks 'Moving On' and 'Limelight' exhibit this as the former has a washy chorus and tremolo effect on the guitar to create a blues and soul sound that fits easily into chilled indie, with the latter offering a slightly more proggy feel on top of this indie vibe.
Seeking influences from the upcoming artists from the UK jazz scene as well as blues players such as B.B.King, Lightning Hopkins and Buddy Guy, Ongbrian's upbringing helps contributes to his unique sound too. Born in Indonesia, he started learning guitar when he moved to Singapore in his teenage years then moved to Seattle for college where he was mostly inspired by the city's music culture as well as being the home of one of his guitar inspirations, Jimi Hendrix. It's from there he moved to LA and started his own independent music studio where he has worked extensively as an audio engineer and producer for local artists and their projects.
But this work only increased his desire to be an artist in his own right, and his exposure to different cultures and creative communities has certainly helped him tap into and master the different sounds that emerge from the other tracks on Mood Swings. The title track has some wailing rock-style guitar soloing at the end of the track despite starting with some chilled funk which is enhanced when Chong's bass enters. 'Morten' has a psychedelic swirl at the beginning before the blues tone resonates from the rest of the group, providing a gentle indie-soul sound before the bass pushes the last half of the song with its sumptuous low undertones. 'Wooza' has a prog-rock vibe to it as Ongbrian's guitar flows with fervour in his best soloing on the EP.
Mood Swings is a fine EP that pushes the blues style into a contemporary setting that fits with both indie and jazz in its chilled form, as Ongbrian standouts as an extremely talented guitarist with a knack for creating enticing compositions.
You can listen to Mood Swings here: https://open.spotify.com/album/0zsgqXpCrK4OYovLmKsUOd
You can keep up to date with Juhan Ongbrian and his music here: