(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Many people recognize the name Jason Bieler the very moment they hear it, or see it in print and they should. Jason has spent years as a founding member and guitarist of the long running hard rock legends, Saigon Kick. But there’s also another musical venture that Jason is perhaps lesser known for, although it is one that is providing some of the most unique music happening at this time.
Beginning back in 2013, Bieler began to exercise his creative Jones via the outlet known as Owl Stretching.. Since then, he has issued a lengthy string of releases, singles, etc. and to be honest, it is nothing like that of his other well known vehicle for music. Melodic, progressive and rife with emotion and feeling, Owl Stretching is a bird of an altogether different feather.
There are airy, feel good aesthetics and upbeat posturing, like that on the “Birds Of Prey” title track. Then there’s the poignant, touching insights and beauty of “Disarmed & Disowned“. It is all lifetimes removed from Jason’s other, well-known day “job” band and the closest he comes with anything sounding even similar is the hard rockin’ “Lion’s Head“.
Two of the five songs on the EP are…well, to be honest, “covers” is not a fair classification by far. They are clearly stand-alone reinterpretations that almost take on a feel of being Bieler’s own compositions due to their distance from the originals themselves. With Oasis’ “Wonderwall“, Jason strips things down to his vocal, a piano or keys and some programming.
The real divergence from the path comes with the re-tooling of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down“. Atmospherically enhanced with ambient and psychedelic tints throughout, out of body vocals and other hazy subtleties make this work in ways one would never imagine.
All in all, this recording is the very essence of individual creativity, talent and experimentation. Jason has repeatedly astounded me with Owl Stretching content since I first discovered the project a couple years back. The tragedy, if there is one in this story, is the fact that so many people are oblivious to this fantastic music. Owl Stretching receives very little exposure in the music press and, I would imagine, little to no radio airplay. But none of that seems to be hurting the project nor deterring Jason as he recently checked in saying:
“I’m so proud that with no label, no press, no radio, no crowdfunding and without even a single live show we just passed 100k plays on our Bandcamp site! So a huge thanks to all of you for the support and continuing to make it grow! Amazing things can happen when you only think about creating music! Please keep spreading the word!“
I took that final sentence to heart and so, here I am doing exactly that..spreading the word. The rest is, or will be, up to you and here’s your opportunity to stream Owl Stretching‘s “Birds Of Prey” via the Bandcamp embed below. Also included is a link to all the Owl Stretching recordings available for purchase.