Dylan Ryan / Sand — Sky Bleached
(Cuneiform Rune 357, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-10-25Does 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.
Related artist(s): Dylan Ryan
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more