The progressive duo in TENSOR originates from inner city Columbus, OH. Fusing elements of several genres coming from jazz, flamenco, and bossa nova, TENSOR includes these elements over a guitar-driven musical core that is inspired by many modern progressive metal acts. Josh Brenneman focuses on driving the melody with guitar and Will Ash sets the rhythmic framework for the songs on drums. Both help compose the orchestration and electronic sounds to fill in the spaces of the compositions.
Josh Brenneman has formally released music onto streaming platforms since 2017 under his own name. Will Ash has made a name for himself performing and writing albums with countless bands based in Columbus as a full-time musician. The two decided to join forces in 2019. After recording their debut project during the 2020 pandemic, TENSOR is releasing the tracks from their upcoming debut album “Passport” over the first half of 2021 determined to introduce their music to as many people as they can.
“Passport” explores the utilization of different genres that both members are passionate about. “Passport” mixes polyrhythmic grooves, ethereal sounding cleans, devastatingly heavy guitars, and fun, hook driven melodies. In an attempt to give the album a more organic sound, the record features live orchestration from local violinist Kristen Elliott and flutist Michela Bertossa as well as a diverse collection of Brazilian auxiliary percussion.
The first single from their debut album, “Pacesetter”, molds a variety of influences together into a captivating sonic journey on their newest single, For “Pacesetter,” the duo took a jazz-tinged piano chord progression and morphed it into something gigantic and complex. The two shift from blast beats to borderline funk grooves with ease.
It is difficult to write an instrumental song that captures the imagination. While certainly not impossible, the distraction of lyrics can often carry a song’s story and imbue meaning. Tensor manage to create movements organically from just the music itself. After a brief introduction on just piano, Brenneman and Ash crash in with arpeggiated guitar and a gnarly double-kick pedal beat. The song ascends into a driving chorus with frenetic guitar leads and powerful drums. After a few moments of this, however, the duo brings the energy down for a bass solo that sounds almost as if Bootsy Collins had joined a metal band. It’s such an interesting direction to take the song, and really showcases Tensor’s ability to transport listeners.
There’s something here for everyone. If you dig jazz, you’ll find a home in the 7th and 9th chords littered throughout the song. If you dig pop punk, you’ll love the fast blast-beats in the chorus. Dig funk? You’ll love the bass solo in the second verse. Tensor are all things to all people, and it’s really inspiring to hear a song that hits all these different genres in one fell swoop.
Influences during writing their new music included: Plini, Intervals, Periphery, Chon, Animals as Leaders, Polyphia, Dream Theater, Mestis, TesseracT, Between the Buried and Me – listen through the YouTube playlist above!
“Some of our favorite all time albums (no ranking) are: (Will): Porcupine Tree- In Absentia, Aja- Steely Dan, Jellyfish – Spilt Milk, Mars Volta- Deloused in the Comatorium, Chick Corea- Friends; (Josh): Periphery II – This time it’s personal, Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety, Polyphia – New Levels New Devils, Andy McKee – Art of Motion, Toe – The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety.”