After a decade in one of the most successful crossover bands, Scissor Sisters, few would expect member Derek Gruen (a.k.a. Del Marquis) to strip away his pop persona to create an album that relies so beautifully on the synergy of a carefully selected and intertwined group of collaborators. But he did just that for his debut full-length album COSMOS due out March 26, 2013 under the moniker Slow Knights.
Both soulful and sharp-tongued album at once, Cosmos sheds light on the record’s creation. In meaning an orderly or harmonious system, Cosmos also suggests something dreamlike, enticing and full of the unexpected, which is exactly what you find at the heart of Cosmos.
Slow Knights is a collective that steps away from glamour shots and imagery that pushes the personality of anyone within, instead inviting the listener to get lost in the lyrics, in the melodies, and most importantly the rhythm of the record. Musicians interchange roles as lead and backup singer, as writer and performer, all brought to life by the golden touch of former members of The New Power Generation who perform the tracks with the slickness and prowess you would expect from a band of their stature.
“Don’t wait for history to tell your story first”, Derek sings at the close of “Legendary Children,” one of the album’s most soulful moments. This idea fills the record – stories of willful submission (“Shame”), social retreat (“In The Quiet”) and bliss (“Sweet Harmony”) are told through a gorgeous landscape of vocal interplay, careful orchestration and production that comes from a heart that has known, lost, found again and fought to hold onto love.
Returning to his past – a child growing up above legendary Greene Street Recordings in New York City – Derek has captured the smoothness of his soul and RnB influences, while also injecting enough grit, spark and personality to prevent Cosmos from being a simple homage to his musical loves.
Flowing seamlessly through its themes and commands repeated listens, it cements Derek not only as an extremely skilled guitarist, songwriter and producer, but also as an artist with enough humility and intuition to know when to delegate and collaborate to let his strengths grow through the inclusion of others, which is exactly why Cosmos radiates such a seductive glow, and why the songs burn so bright.
Slow Knights’ debut album Cosmos will be released independently on March 26, 2013. Guests vocalists on the album include Rod Thomas (Bright Light Bright Light), Xavier Smith, Chrissie Poland, Bridget Barkan and Mykal Kilgore. It was mixed by Howie Weinberg (Public Enemy, Aerosmith, The White Stripes) and produced by Derek Gruen.
To listen to the album sampler, please go to: https://soundcloud.com/slowknights.
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