Conduit of Humanity – The Zen Cage

One of my favorite indie releases of the last few years was AAA Battery’s Corrosion of Buddha. A cross country, file swapping kind of project, the project held up as an homage to the corrosion of the human spirit. Musically, it was a blend of alternative sensibilities with progressive rock leanings – kind of like Neil Young meeting Tool. AAA Battery’s Fred Jeske rang me up back in June to tell me about his forthcoming project – Conduit of Humanity. It sounded really ambitious – a group of 20+ individuals getting together to create reality bending music that could change hearts and minds. But isn’t that what the best music does? We made plans to get together in Seattle in August at his band’s performance and…my life took a left turn. Instead of catching up with Fred and taking in his band, I found myself driving across the USA on the very same day I had made plans with Fred. Sorry Fred! His new project – Conduit of Humanity – has recently released their debut album, The Zen Cage. And I can tell you, it is an album that lives up to it’s ambitions.

Continue reading

AAA Battery – Corrosion of Buddha

AAA Battery is a cross-country collaboration between guitarist Fred A. Jeske (based in Chicago), bassist Joe A. Maydak (based in San Francisco), and singer Spookey A. Ruben (based in Los Angeles). The music doesn’t suffer from its file swapping origins – the band dubs it “prog you can dance to” which is an apt of a description as I can think of. In fact, many songs brought to mind the one-off Tool side project, Lusk from the mid 90’s (also – still the only Tool related thing I own, with apologies to all the other related bands). Alternative guitars slot in comfortably with horns and progressive rhythms. Corrosion of Buddha is the band’s sophomore release and is an homage to the corrosion of the human spirit. As singer Fred Jeske explains “…the songs represent individual streams of known imbalance based on relationships, political filtering and overall sight of the ongoing devolution of our planet and people”. It also helps that it is a great record.

Runaway With The Gold is the album opener and serves as a statement of intent. An almost ska feel with the horns and underlying deep bass. Bonus points for a jam in the middle of the song. The title track has abrasive elements jutting up against melody to great effect. Invisible has such a latter-day Bowie feel to it I had to double-check the credits. Musically, this is all about atmosphere. Vocals intertwine with the lead guitar, really giving it a space vibe. Stunning. The song fades out on an amazing instrumental coda. Techno And The Man has an intro that reminded me quite a bit of a mid period Red Hot Chili Peppers funk jam. The song segues into a bizarre sounding tune that is equal parts Primus and the 60’s Batman theme song. Pretty awesome, in other words. Landfills, A Meditation is probably my favorite song on the record. The intro vocals call to mind Neil Young & Crazy Horse with a dash of The Beach Boys for good measure. It then segues into a dark soundscape instrumental for the last 5 minutes or so. Perfection.

Absolutely an album I’d recommend. You can buy the album here and follow the band here. You won’t regret it.

Verdict: Prog You Can Dance To

For Fans of: Lusk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, David Bowie, Porno for Pyros


  1. Runaway With The Gold
  2. Taxi Heart
  3. Corrosion of Buddha
  4. Victim Of My Life
  5. Invisible
  6. Techno And The Man
  7. Sunshine Flies
  8. August Blade
  9. Landfills, A Meditation
  10. Medicine Box