Hailed by critics as "a high-energy vocal phenomenon that'll simply knock your socks off!" (JazzBeat), measureXmeasure (measure by measure) is an a cappella sensation that proves the human voice is indeed the most versatile of all instruments. Despite what the listeners' ears may tell them, mXm uses no drum machines, synthesizers, pre-recorded material or instruments of any kind. Every sound - whether it be soaring five-part vocal harmonies, jaw-dropping vocal bass, or astonishing beat-box vocal percussion - is produced live by the voices of these five young men. Originally formed in the mid-1990's as a student group at the University of Kansas, the Kansas City-based quintet now travels coast-to-coast year-round headlining concerts halls, festivals and college campuses everywhere.
MeasureXmeasure: On Our Own
The five young men who form Contemporary a cappella group measureXmeasure, slimmed down from the original nine who founded the group at the University of Kansas in 1995, have two successful CDs, "Measure by Measure" and "We're Back," under their belts, and "On Our Own" is an impressive third effort! We like to see the little note, "all music on this CD was created by the voices and appendages of the group," because it usually means there's some butt-kicking vocal percussion, and there's some of the best we've heard here. 11 songs, including some originals, "My Heart," "Live and Learn," "So In Love With You," "Everything" and "On Our Own," and some excellent covers: "Up the Ladder to the Roof," "You Don't Treat Me No Good," "Mustang Sally," "Only You," "Don't Let Your Heart," and finishing, incongruously, by nailing Maurice Durufle's sacred masterpiece, "Ubi Caritas." The group does their own arrangements and has the kind of juice and flair only found in the best Contemporary groups like Rockapella and m-pact. "On Our Own" is one of the best we've heard this year.
MeasureXmeasure: We're Back
From that indie-music oasis, Lawrence, Kansas, come MeasureXMeasure (Measure-by-Measure is how that reads). These five young twenty-something fellows incorporate some hip-hop/dance/electronica energy into their yes, exclusively a cappella contemporary sound, which is also made up entirely of original tunes, save for "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," arranged by the group's own Jeff Smith. This track deserves special mention, both for originality and execution; it's different, strikes the proper balance between economy and surfeit, and is absolutely in tune. If they do this live, it must bring down the house. Not to give an incorrect impression, "Rainbow" is a stylistic anomaly, but the point is that these five bring a measure of skill that is promising indeed. Given that all of the group members write, their originals haven't forged the same distinct personality, but there's a lot of potential here.