Exposé Online banner

Paul Simon — Surprise
(Warner Bros 49982-2, 2006, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2007-03-01

Surprise Cover artIt should come as no big shock that singer-songwriter Paul Simon would be seeking a new sonic vehicle for his well-established career. Given the international success of Graceland it's clear that Simon can distill varying influences into his songs and deliver on high quality efforts that continue to distinguish his career. Enlisting audio sculptor Brian Eno to further extend his lyrical reach has given the composer an edgy outlook that fits the times. Starting out with the riffing guitars on "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" Eno is fully engaged, providing suitable backwards guitar loops to a CD brimming with adventure. In contrast, "Outrageous" is a funky ode to growing older that works as a well crafted dance track due to the rock solid drumming of Robin Dimagio. Jazz luminaries Bill Frisell and Herbie Hancock also make memorable cameos on "Everything About It Is a Love Song" and "War Time Prayers," Frisell's airy leads fluttering over Steve Gadd's incendiary drumming on the former piece; on the latter, Hancock's piano graces an ambient song showcasing Simon's lyrics imparting family hardships. For a 60s artist to create such a vital recording is a testament to close collaboration with Eno. Overall the sound quality on the disc is first rate and a credit to the engineering team for the multiple sessions.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Brian Eno, Bill Frisell, Paul Simon

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pinnacle - Meld – Heck, any band that gives thanks to "the spectacular Eliza Dushku for inspiration" deserves the benefit of the doubt, don't they? This American three-piece treads some familiar ground — the...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues