This posh looking trick who looks like he just made it with your girlfriend is Christopher Sluka.
This man has more talents than most people have friends. He is a renowned global visual artist known for surrealistic oil paintings that have been shown in galleries across the US and overseas. He is an avid long distance runner. He is the chief flight instructor at the flight school he owns and operates. And there… he just totally stole your girlfriend.
You can see him in the distance, flying away with your girl in his plane as he causally remarks, “You don’t mind if we check out my newest album?” then he slides it in…
The CD player… where did you think I was going with that?
But seriously, Christopher Sluka, or the entity that is SLUKA which produces the lush, eclectic, worldly music… is most likely a lovely spirit who would NEVER steal your girlfriend. (but totally could).
Someone that driven in life knows passion. An obsessive, maniacal devotion to whichever direction SLUKA chooses. And when that choice is music, ‘prolific’ doesn’t even come close.
2017 marks the release of his eleventh (!) studio album in the form of “Colorful Radiation”.
You know that phrase, ‘They are big in Japan?”… well, SLUKA is large in Japan.
Born in Seattle to a constantly traveling military family, no one location was home for long. The young Sluka began to assimilate multinational tastes and flavors which bled into his song writing as he started his career in New York. This sensibility aligned with the current of the post-new wave art rock that was developing in a scene that embraced Talking Heads, INXS, Tears for Fears, Simple Minds and Talk Talk.
And for whatever reasons best known to Sluka and the people of Japan, his first couple of albums were best received overseas.
Releases led to shows, which spawned media appearances, which led to more shows… and more music.
The latest being the 10 track opus that is “Colorful Radiation”. All guitar, piano, drums, bass, violin, trumpet, trombone, french horn, ukelele, and synthesizer are played by Christopher Sluka… because of course they are. And not only can he play them, he can challenge song formulas with unexpected sonic ideas. Rarely does SLUKA present itself as over-orchestrated, despite the lengthy instrument resume. Rather, great care is taken to use the right sonic, with the right melody, against the best rhythm for that particular song. Bowie knew this trick. As did later career Beatles. To find a common thread of sound that connects these tracks would be problematic, as the only constant is SLUKA’s ever evolving palette of world inspired influences. Although piano and synth are the foundation upon which most of these songs are built, the variety of textures and tones gives the impression of something much more inspired.
This confluence of ideas is well on display for the album’s opening track, ‘Number One’. The Bowie influence is spot on… right up until the acid lounge break.
A wistful tone does wind its way through many of these tracks, especially when SLUKA finds a loop of an idea that just works on such solid ground, there is little need to break it into traditional song structures. He is remarkably comfortable exploring a singular sound approach and somehow wrapping that into a complete song. Tracks like the ether-laced, ‘Virga’ or the modest plinking melody of, ‘Tease Me’ circle the listener with this focused approach.
The piano/keyboard driven ‘Arpeggiate’ finds the emotional pull of Death Cab For Cutie falling against a Beatles breakdown, making it one of the strongest songs on this release.
If there is a downside, it would be the morose tone the album occasionally finds itself wallowing in for too long. Perhaps it’s intentional, as SLUKA presents himself as a more than confident musician and song writer. Maybe he doesn’t give a shit if he is bumming you out. All he knows is your girlfriend keeps smiling at him… because girls LOVE that emotional trip.
And planes. The bastard. The talented, talented bastard.
Follow SLUKA here: SLUKA official website