Exposé Online banner

Dylan Ryan / Sand — Sky Bleached
(Cuneiform Rune 357, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-10-25

Sky Bleached Cover artDoes the metaphor "broken record" even make sense anymore? Is there a whole generation that has no feeling for what it means? I bring it up because my thoughts about Dylan Ryan and his band Sand may sound like a broken record to regular readers of my reviews on Exposé. This music harkens back to what I think of as the glory days of jazz-rock fusion, before the slicker sounds of funk and soul became part of the standard mix — before there was such a thing as a "standard mix." I'm talking about early Mahavishnu, Lifetime, and the like (early Weather Report too, but since this is a guitar-oriented band, they're less relevant). Drummer Dylan Ryan is the leader and chief composer, having a hand in all the tunes except their wild take on Paul Motian's "White Magic," but it is guitarist Timothy Young who really defines the sound of the band. Young is an incredibly creative player who's worked with artists as diverse as John Zorn and Fiona Apple, but it's his association with Nels Cline that is most telling. Like Cline, he doesn't box easily. Not a flashy technical player, he mixes unconventional voices, effects, and parts that blur the lines between lead and rhythm playing. The brief blast of "Mayan Sun" sounds like an outtake from Inner Mounting Flame (think of the first section of "The Noonward Race") warped through a sideshow mirror. The band is also set apart by Devin Hoff's use of upright bass rather than electric. The jazzy plucked sound (and occasional use of the bow) adds a different dimension to the impact of the music. Ryan himself definitely leans to the jazzier side of percussion, never sounding like any of the technical drummers so often associated with fusion. This is an all-around stunning release, and deserves to be heard by adventurous jazz lovers and guitar geeks alike.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Dylan Ryan

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...

Tokyo Jihen - Sports – Since its founding in 2004, singer Shiina Ringo's band Tokyo Jihen (The Tokyo Incidents) has been a very eclectic and creative entry in the Japanese rock scene. Their latest effort is no exception, a...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues