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

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Gilmour - On an Island – Longtime Pink Floyd Guitarist Dave Gilmour is living the perfect rock star dream. Having completed the unlikely Live 8 reunion and sidestepped label pressure to restart the band, the guitarist...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues