Exposé Online banner

Jono el Grande — Melody of a Muddled Mason
(Rune Grammofon RCD2175, 2015, CD / LP)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-04-12

Melody of a Muddled Mason Cover art

The Norwegian guitarist, keyboardist, composer, bandleader, and conductor (not necessarily in that order) Jono el Grande released his first album in 1999, and Melody of a Muddled Mason is in fact his sixth in sixteen years. Where have I been? Born in 1973, it’s pretty evident he’s given a lot of attention to the Frank Zappa albums from the decade before he was born. While his material is entirely original, it is heavily informed by Burnt Weenie, Weasels and Uncle Meat era FZ, but also classic prog rock from the British school as well (echoes of Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, various Canterbury bands), and the mix of all these influences makes for some brilliant compositions and arrangements. And he’s a mighty solid guitarist as well. The opener, “Bach’s Beach,” pretty much sums up all those influences in one tidy eight-minute piece, mostly instrumental save two brief sections of unusual vocals near the beginning and end (Beefheart anybody?). The band is a six-piece with guests, featuring saxes, flute, vibraphone, bass, drums, Fender Rhodes, a string section, percussion, and a lot of wacky effects (which might include a slide whistle) and for his part, Jono is credited with guitar, vocals, piano, percussion, and a Farfisa organ that makes a very strong appearance on that opening track. The title track is second up, a full minute longer than the opener, which has a dark and sinister Van der Graaf feel, with several absolutely insane solos for guitar and saxes, all followed by a grooving rock section that might be worthy of a place on Hot Rats. How does that prepare the listener for the minute-and-a-half Stravinsky-like string piece “Lament X”? Well, it really doesn’t, other than to affirm that there’s an unexpected surprise waiting at every turn along this six song, mostly-instrumental set. Very impressive throughout.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Jono el Grande

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Meat Beat Manifesto - At the Center – Meat Beat Manifesto is in actuality the brainchild of audio menace Jack Dangers. Previous recordings by the artist ranged from sonic deconstruction and techno experiments that highlighted rave...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues