Exposé Online banner

Cantrip — Authentic Luxury
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-06-25

Authentic Luxury Cover art

In the legions of jazz-rock power trios, Cantrip sets itself apart in several ways. First of all, there’s the guitar of leader Simon Henneman, whose resume includes such diverse settings as Diminished Men and space rock explorers Spectral Waves. His stated goal for Cantrip is “non-idiomatic shredding,” and that’s as good a description as any. His playing can be heavy, though not in a metal way, more like what Jimi Hendrix might have done with modern equipment, but he can also be subtle, utilizing sophisticated jazz chords in unusual ways to contrast with distorted riffs. He can also go off into insane realms of freaky effects. His backing comes from musicians with a clear jazz pedigree: bassist Mike Murphy is quite versatile, navigating Henneman’s tricky tunes with ease, able to jump from funky rhythms to melodic lines in a split second; drummer Chris Icasiano is generally more likely to be found in loose, jazzy settings, but tackles these hard-hitting pieces with great energy, interpreting odd meters with a very natural feel rather than sticking to repeating patterns. The nine tracks presented here run a wide gamut of sound, from breathless workouts like “Machingo” to moody grooves like “The Beekeeper’s Lament” to twisted surf-rock like “Halfzware.” There’s a lot more besides, including a few tracks that have riffs with mind-boggling rhythms that seem on the verge of flying apart at any second. At every turn there’s something new — Henneman and company are not about repeating themselves. This “shredding” has virtually nothing in common with what guitarists like Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen and the other do. It’s not about running up and down the fretboard at ridiculous speed, though there are some passages of very fast playing in unusual scales — it’s about creating interesting sounds with the guitar, some of which sound more like the product of demented synthesizers than anything with strings. I know a lot of listeners are always on the lookout for the next hot guitarist, so here’s one to check out who doesn’t fit the molds.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Simon Henneman / Cantrip

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
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


Previously in Exposé...

Cruz de Hierro - Crossroads – Some may recall this Mexican quintet from their performance at Baja Prog many years back; in fact they have come a long way toward finding their own sound since those earlier days. Their stock in...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues