Steve MacLean — Bridges
(ReR Megacorp SM2, 2007, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01
The double set covers two decades of work from composer, guitarist, and programmer Steve MacLean. The pieces run a gamut from completely computer-based programmed compositions to a five-piece band, and cover a fair amount of stylistic territory as well. Some of the sequencer work reminds me a bit of Frank Zappa’s electronic recordings, full of parts that could not be played by human musicians. There are also some odd touches experimenting with what was at the time cutting-edge technology in samplers and effects. The band performances share some definite stylistic quirks with those computerized pieces. MacLean definitely favors complex, intricate arrangements recorded very cleanly. In fact, at times the band sounds like it’s programmed! There are some high-concept tricks involved as well, such as mixing backwards and forwards material. Also included is a work for electronic orchestra, a fascinating postmodern concoction of angular rhythmic lines and synthesizer sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard. There are three nice acoustic guitar trios and a few improvisational pieces as well. In spite of the great diversity, there is a common stylistic thread running through all of MacLean’s work that lends a certain coherence. So while the sound is a bit sterile at time (I think he likes it that way), it’s hard not to get caught up in the odd musical world presented. One quibble: in the liner notes to a 1987 piece, MacLean claims to have indulged in “a remix many years before the term existed,” which is clearly false since the word dates back at least to the 70s.
Related artist(s): Steve MacLean
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
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
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