Three Thirteen — Depletion Region
((Not on label) no#, 2015, CD)
by Henry Schneider, 2015-09-18:
Three Thirteen is the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist Mark Harrell, not to be confused with California’s heavy metal band with the same name. Their respective musics are worlds apart. Mark sites many points of musical reference, but the only one that makes sense to me is Pat Metheny. Mark composes and plays very smooth New Age Contemporary jazz-fusion music. Unfortunately, I do not think that I can do the music on this CD justice. It is too smooth and gentle for me. I hate to say it, but the most interesting aspect of the CD is the cover art. From afar it looks like a beaded design. But on close examination it resolves into an aerial photo of a housing development in Sun Lakes, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. A few of the eleven instrumental tracks start out interesting with sonic elements like crowd sounds, a train station, woodland birds, etc. but then the music enters and these moments of interest evaporate. Overall this disc is chock full of excellent and relaxing background music that tends to sound the same to me. Mark used to play drums in a band in his early career, but he may have grown too insulated as a solo artist. His music is missing that edge that comes from interacting musically with other musicians. Even though the promo material for Depletion Region states that Mark drew on rock, pop, classical, and jazz to create this album, the end result really does not fit into the type of music we normally cover on Exposé.
by Jon Davis, 2015-09-18:
“Reflection of Day” is the first track on this CD, and when I first heard it, I was reminded of something Anthony Phillips might have come up with as a mellow interlude for a late-70s album. The arpeggiated chords on 12-string together with a simple piano melody would fit on Wise after the Event or Sides, though I doubt Phillips would have carried on with it for over six minutes. While there is some variety on later tracks, the opening is representative, with acoustic guitar (picked or strummed) backing relatively simple keyboard parts, with drums keeping basic time (usually in 4/4). Occasionally a twist like the backward vocals on “All the While” provide a nice touch. But it’s all very polite, pretty, and smooth, without any touches of dissonance, rather like canned soundtrack music for industrial films or documentaries. “Illusionation” sets up a catchy riff in 6/4, but manages to avoid making it really jump out by swamping it in keyboards – a couple of moments approach a nifty Happy the Man kind of complexity, but tone it down and mellow it out. “The Blasted Plain” provides the brightest spot, kicking the tempo up a bit with a driving 7/4 rhythm and an electric guitar melody that almost cuts loose; in the middle section, there’s some percussion and chanting and a little bit of weirdness, but it doesn’t last long, returning to tamer stuff for the remainder of the piece. In the end, Three Thirteen presents a style modelled on something like Camel’s mellower, prettier moments, without the contrasting bluesy or rockish parts (admittedly, Camel has done this on some albums).
Related artist(s): Three Thirteen
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
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
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more
Shingetsu / Serenade - Shingetsu, Night Collector & Akai Me No Kagami – Shingetsu was one of the classic Japanese symphonic bands, and their self titled Shingetsu album from 1979 is highly regarded, and often compared to classic period Genesis, if only for the ten minute... (1996) » Read more