Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
The Jeremy Cubert Project — Elephant in the Room
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2020-01-24
Nearly 20 years ago I reviewed From A to B, an album featuring a Jeremy Cubert Project which included other musicians on guitar, violin, and drums in addition to Cubert’s keyboards and Chapman Stick. For Elephant in the Room, it’s all Cubert, and he adds guitar, ukulele, Zendrum, and LinnStrument to his toolbox. With the Zendrum, he provides real-sounding drum parts that aren’t simply programmed, and the Linnstrument allows him to simulate violin, saxophone, and other real-world instruments as well as electronic sounds. His basic style is intact, bridging jazz fusion and progressive rock, leading to references to Return to Forever (Romantic Warrior era) and Happy the Man. These engaging tunes are played supremely well, with the keyboard and Stick parts especially impressive. His Zendrum work is generally quite natural sounding, closely resembling parts that could be played on a conventional drum kit. For my ear, the LinnStrument, while technically intriguing, produces what might be called “uncanny valley” sounds. It’s hard to argue that LinnStrument saxophone, violin, and trumpet emulations are closer to the expressive capabilities of the real instruments than any previous electronic systems, but there are slight differences that I find unsettling — it’s so good at mimicking the variations of pitch and tone in the playing of good musicians that when a bend doesn’t sound right I’m a little annoyed. But maybe that’s just me. That quibble aside, Elephant in the Room is an impressive piece of work, clearly the result of a great amount of work mastering so many instruments, all in service of wonderful compositions.
Related artist(s): Jeremy Cubert
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