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

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Covenant - Nature's Divine Reflection – It seems that the one-man band is making a comeback in the American mid-west. Whether this is a positive happening or not, I will leave to the individual listener. Covenant consists solely of one Dave...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues