CD Reviews - April 2012
Gavin Harrison and 05Ric – The Man Who Sold Himself
This is the third collaboration between progressive drumming legend Gavin Harrison and Bass/Guitar virtuoso 05Ric.
With ‘The Man Who Sold Himself’ the duo continue to mix odd times, and progressive stylings to the edge. The album is full of crazy noodled guitar and bass riffs that worm their way around Gavin’s equally complex drumming. 05Ric also provides vocals on the album, which strangely provide the steadiness and direction of most songs as the bass and drums go crazy behind them. At times the sound is reminiscent of math/rock band like Battles, Foals, or Don Caballero but with a more progressive feel, and at other times it makes me think of a stripped down and somewhat tighter sounding Mastadon. This is an album for prog fans only and I can’t imagine any of these pieces being played on the radio any time soon, but I’m sure that was not Gavin and Ric’s intention anyway
Gavin’s drumming is of course top notch and his feel and groove is undeniable, and the drums sound great. Even though all the all the parts on the album are deliberately complicated, the instrumentation remains quite sparse, giving you the chance to really hear the tone of the drums and really pick out what Gavin is playing, somehow managing to weave the lightest of ghost notes and the heaviest of tom hits into the same fills. Any fans of Gavin’s playing with Porcupine Tree will instantly love this, and he may even win over a few new fans with this one too.
The album is a two disc set, alongside the stereo mix on CD, features a 5.1 mix on DVD allowing fans to enjoy the intricate complexities in full surround sound glory.
Rick Drumm and Fatty Necroses – Return From the Unknown
Rick Drumm is the president of D’Addario strings, but he is also an accomplished drummer in his own right. How can you not play the drums with a name like that!?
Here he presents us with a lovely smooth album of jazzy, bluesey, funky tracks with the aid of his bandmates on bass, piano, guitars, saxophone, trombone and trumpet. ‘Out The Door’ is one of the many highlights which starts off smooth and gradually builds into a beast before dying down again. ‘Just A Drop’ and ‘Indi Funk’ bring home the funk and ‘Not Whatever ‘ is a lovely smooth ballad with some tasteful solos. As a drummer , Rick is not over the top and leads the band perfectly. I find myself not being able to say the words ‘Smooth’ and ‘Tasteful’ enough in this review, something which is a great accomplishment for an album.
In 2009 Rick was diagnosed with cancer, and a planned one off performance to lift his spirits brought the band together, and later this album. Rick’s love for music helped him fight the disease and he has chosen to contribute 25% of the proceeds generated by the sale of the CD to Strike a Chord USA, which is a registered charity in Australia and the USA that supports seriously ill and disadvantaged children who need inspiration and distraction from their illness.
Overall, a highly recommended album that music geeks and casual listeners can equally appreciate.
River Guerguerian – Grooves For Odd Times
River Guerguerian is a multipercussionist/composer/educator who has travelled the world exploring different cultures, sounds and compositional ideas. Over his thirty year career he has performed with the likes of The BBC Concert Orchestra, Chuck Berry, Ziggy Marley and The Gypsy Kings and has recorded over 150 albums and soundtracks.
Here he presents us with a CD of music especially made in odd times, most of it is percussive but strings, voices and guitars and also used, albeit sparingly. “The inspiration for ‘Grooves for odd times’ was to create a sonic palette in the same way a painter might approach a canvas”, River explains. And the outcome is very interesting and at times oddly engaging, there is an overall feel of tranquillity and ambience to the record, which is not surprising since River also composes music for meditation.
The concepts behind the album include things like Heavy Groove Philosophy, Lyrical Percussion, Abstract Tone Arrangement and Aural Landscape. So it probably comes as no surprise that the album has a very ‘New Age’ feel to it.
For an album that is based on percussive instruments and deals solely with odd times, this is a strangely relaxing and rewarding listen.
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