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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Thierry Zaboitzeff - Dr. Zab & His Robotic Strings Orchestra – Zaboitzeff is the bass guitarist/cellist for Art Zoyd. This solo project shows him in a more electronic setting, as it is done mostly using synths and sequencers. There are 22 tracks of varying length...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues