Exposé Online banner

Marc Wagnon — Earth Is a Cruel Master
(Buckyball br023, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Earth Is a Cruel Master Cover art

Swiss born vibraphonist / percussionist Marc Wagnon is probably best known as a member of Tunnels during their five-album run, or perhaps as a member of Doctor Nerve before that, but all through that time he has released several solo albums of his own compositions – Shadowlines from about a dozen or so years ago was one of these that I recall well. On Earth Is a Cruel Master, he is joined by guitarist Van Manakas, electric bassist Leo Traversa, and acoustic bassist Danny Stone, for an instrumental set that straddles the poles of jazz and electric jazz-rock, skillfully avoiding the two f-words. Wagnon plays everything else, including the drum kit, all mallet percussion and the occasional background synths (or are they mallets processed to sound like keyboards?), plus all the cool electronic effects that pop into the mix from time to time. While Manakas does some outstanding time in the spotlight, it’s really Wagnon’s everpresent vibraphone work, coupled with his thoughtful compositions that give the eight tracks here their character, as well as the many confluent interchanges between all the players involved. On “Eye of the Skies: Farewell,” the multiple layers of vibraphone work are nothing short of amazing. The complex shifts and changes within all the compositions are natural and always feel right, occasionally stretching out into some amazing grooves (as on the ten-minute “Osiris Pre-Science”), but jumping back in again just as seamlessly. Overall, this is an exemplary set that delivers the goods on many levels.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Marc Wagnon

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
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

2018-11-02
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


Previously in Exposé...

Lacrymosa - Joy of the Wrecked Ship – It’s been quite a long time since S. Chihiro (flip through an issue of Marquee, he's the one with the bass and the weird helmets) and company have released a full album – about ten...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues