Barry Cleveland — Hologramatron
(Moonjune Eleven Eleven MJR033, 2010, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2010-07-01Barry Cleveland considers his new album a departure from past efforts. I’d agree, only insofar as many of the songs feature vocals. But for those who recall Cleveland’s lauded 2004 album, Volcano, things haven’t really changed all that much. Bassist extraordinaire Michael Manring returns for Hologramatron, with the remaining core of supporting musicians also including Robert Powell (pedal and lap steel) and Celso Alberti (drums and percussion). But as with past albums, there are two compelling reasons to add this one to your collection. First, Cleveland’s work on 6- and 12-string guitar, guitarviol, Moog guitar, and assorted other toys. I’m sure he’d acknowledge a debt to Robert Fripp and the Guitar Craft school, though this is merely a starting point with nods to David Gilmour and Steve Tibbetts also visible in Cleveland’s facile and evocative fretwork. The other why-to-buy is the songs, though I warn readers that Cleveland’s Bay Area Liberal cred is proclaimed loud and clear on tracks “Lake of Fire” and “Warning,” with Amy X Neuberg and Michael Masley delivering scathing indictments against corporate fat cats, religious conservatives, and others. But the remaining songs are less controversial, some exploring textural soundscapes (“Stars of Sayulita,” “Abandoned Mines”), some having fun with 60s pop (“What Have They Done to the Rain,” “Telstar”) and some echoing John Paul Jones’ industrial rock (“Suicide Train”). I commend Cleveland for having the guts to tackle sensitive political topics, as well as his ongoing instrument explorations. That this album also sounds great is gravy.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more