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.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more