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November 22, 2010  | by: Aziza Sullivan

Rendered by Stephanie Leung/Courtesy of Aaron Valenzuela

The University of California, Berkley (UC Berkeley, or just Berkeley to those ‘in the know’) has a reputation for turning out lots of things: nationally renowned scientists. Critically acclaimed research. Really, really, really liberal thinking. The logical combination of these things would be a student band or two, right?

Aaron Valenzuela (class of 2012) and Brian Flaherty (class of 2010) of Subtle Trace thought so, too.

What began as a jam session between friends  in one of the campus’s parking garages (“We were in love with the echo and the reverb…due to the crazy concrete structure,” said guitarist Valenzuela) soon morphed into a musical venture to kill all the extra free time those Berkeley kids have on their hands.

“…we found that we actually were making some things that we could turn into songs,” continued Valenzuela. “So, we did…”

‘Dormant Ways’, the band’s first and newest EP, features a variety of sounds, from the folksy, vaguely western undertones of ‘Waves’, to the hauntingly melancholy ‘Morning‘. The duo-turned-band hopes to use the EP to get their name out beyond the walls of Berkeley’s acoustically-inspiring parking structures, though they have no intentions of slowing down once the CD has dropped.

Reminiscent of a lazy Saturday morning lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, Subtle Trace holds its own in the face of current talent, while boasting popular indie tones to soothe the weariest of souls (or stir them to action, as the case may be).

“It feels good to have a physical thing made of our music,” said Valenzuela. “It makes us feel like we’ve actually done something (which we have, I think), with all the artwork…It’s sort of a transition into creating more things.”

Popular sound with an unconventional twist, Subtle Trace has an early lead on being the ‘next big thing’. Listen to a few selections from ‘Dormant Ways’ (to be released in early December) here.

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