Exposé Online banner

Steve Tibbetts — Natural Causes
(ECM 1951, 2010, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2011-06-01

Natural Causes Cover artOn first listen, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that Natural Causes might be a collection of out-takes from Tibbetts' 1982 album Northern Song, his very first LP for ECM. Indeed, the feeling is very similar, driven by introspective and spacious acoustic improvisations that celebrate fragmentary melodies and intermittent bursts of intensity, where the absence of sound is every bit as important as the elemental fabric of guitar, percussion and kalimba that makes up the dreamy concepts that make up the thirteen titles here. One important difference is that while the earlier album centered on longer pieces, most of what's here could be thought of as vignettes that often barely last over a minute or two (although there are several that stretch out a bit more). His playing style is immediately recognizable, which seems to channel the essence of Hendrix by way of John Fahey, and even in this near-total acoustic setting there are few moments where even a listener familiar only with his electric work wouldn't pick out some of the stylistic quirks that are uniquely his own. Percussionist Marc Anderson, who has been Tibbetts' primary sideman since the late 70s is the only other player here, and even at that his contributions are spare. Those who only know the guitarist’s more recent electric work will be in for a nice surprise.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2010 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Tibbetts, Marc Anderson

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kantata - Samsara – For background information, go dig up a copy of Expose #14, and find the review where I spent half a page trying to describe a CD by Iwan Fals. Here, the XTC/Sting/Cat Stevens-influenced...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues