The Ray Martin Sessions, Sergio Vega's five-song, 15-minute solo EP, bears little resemblance to his previous projects. Vega was a part of the New York hardcore scene with the band Absolution until hooking up with guitarist Walter Schriefels to form the brutally succinct Quicksand in 1990. The well-received quartet lasted for five years, a couple of albums, and a handful of singles and EPs before calling it a day in 1995. Vega worked on a solo project called Fully and then reunited with Quicksand for a one-off tour last year that nearly wound up in the studio again. He then lent his talents to the Deftones for a brief spell, after their bassist Chi Cheng was forced off the road due to foot surgery. None of these diversions was too far afield from Vega's core sound, which is generally characterized by an earthquake-sized bass furrow underneath a riveting hardcore sound.
The defining characteristic of Vega's Ray Martin project is its amazing sonic diversity, even as Vega uses a number of well-known names from the N.Y.C. hardcore scene, including Chris Traynor (Orange 9 MM), Charlie Garriga (Civ), and Jimmy Williams (Maximum Penalty). There's a distinct pop element to Vega's presentation, although he approaches a familiar volume as he mixes emocore with mariachi and folk/pop, and even brings it down to a demo-like acoustic hush with a sensitive Paul Westerberg-like aura. As a matter of fact, the only thing that Vega's Ray Martin Sessions lacks is a second half -- its five songs leave you wanting more. With any luck, that is exactly what Sergio Vega will be bringing to stages all across the Midwest and East Coast on his brief tour.