Take What You Will
Their lyrics range from ironic, witty observations to quiet, honest emotion. Their songs stretch from upbeat pop tunes to delicate, soulful folk. And their live performances are never devoid of humorous, witty banter between the three members. Though not apparent while watching the band perform, Vale Jokisch (24), Matt Murphy (25), and Joel Price (27), have strikingly different musical influences. But the resulting blend of music that Ellipsis creates is truly their own personal brand. Formed in 1998 while all three members were attending Swarthmore College, the band's initial incarnation included a drummer and a bassist. The group made the transition to it's current acoustic formation in 2000 when they were given the opportunity to open for Dar Williams. 'We really enjoy the purity of the acoustic instruments, and we wanted to take full advantage of the trueness of their sound,' comments Vale. 'Playing acoustically, we began paying more attention to our compositions and arrangements, and we started finding ways to cover the rhythm and percussion elements usually supplied by bass and drums.' Ellipsis has spent the past three years exploring the music scene around southeastern Pennsylvania, playing and helping sell out well-known acoustic venues such as the Tin Angel in Philadelphia and The Point in Bryn Mawr. In 2003, the group began touring to a variety of venues, coffeehouses, colleges and radio stations throughout the eastern and midwestern United States. Their unique sound has garnered them a loyal following of fans who identify with their music. The band's sound reflects the classical training and diverse influences of it's members, with styles ranging from folk to rock, and from bluegrass and jazz. Though the arrangement process is a collaborative one, Vale, Matt and Joel each write songs individually for the group. One element that is present in all three songwriter's music is it's lyrical depth. Each song is a personal observation, whether it be of their own emotions, personal experiences, or their perception of the world around them. 'We've had people of all ages approach us after shows to tell us how they identified with the lyrics of different songs,' says Matt. 'There's really no better feeling, when you're putting your own thoughts and emotions into your music, than knowing that another person has found some truth in what you've said.' Nowhere is this better reflected than in Ellipsis's full-length studio release 'take what you will,' set to be released in October, 2004. The album is a collection of honest, intimate thoughts that showcase wisdom beyond the young members' years. The album's first track, 'Episode One,' is a light, catchy pop tune whose saccharine sweet sound mocks the narrator's failure to discover her own reality. 'Coming Home,' a folkier piece, is a quiet reflection reminiscing about a life well-lived. Throughout the album Ellipsis's signature sound comes through, with it's mix of richly textured guitars, smooth, elegant violin riffs and sparkling, playful mandolin solos. Rising above the instruments is Vale's rich, resonant alto, which ranges from delicate to soaring on 'Alright,' and shifts to soulful and sexy on 'Glide.' 'We like calling it progressive acoustic music,'' says Joel, 'but as long as our audience is somehow connecting with what we are saying, they can call it whatever they'd like.'