Exposé Online banner

Three Thirteen — Depletion Region
((Not on label) no#, 2015, CD)

by Jon Davis, 2015-09-18:

Depletion Region Cover art

“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).


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.


Filed under: New releases , 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Three Thirteen

More info

Latest news

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Monolith - Monolith – At first listen this k/b/d band delivers up derivative progressive rock of the highest order. However, I discovered that a good chunk of this was written in 1977, nearly predating the sound they lean...  (1999) » Read more

Kelly David - Broken Voyage – Mixed and enhanced by Steve Roach, mastered by Roger King, with graphic design by Sam Rosenthal, it is a sheer wonder that this doesn’t come across as a Roach clone, weighed down by comparison and...  (2002) » Read more

Mawwal - This Is All There Is, There Is No Other Place – The first Mawwal release was one of the highlights of 2007, and here they’ve done it again for 2008, and not by simply remaking the first album. While many of the things that made Black Flies so...  (2009) » Read more

The Insect Trust - The Insect Trust – This late-60s quintet from NYC epitomized the broad sense of musical experimentation of the era, pulling incongruent forms together, and through a combination of optimism and naiveté, managing...  (2001) » Read more

Rob Levit - Touch the Spirit – When this one arrived in my mailbox, I was not thrilled. “Oh, joy,” I thought, “a whole CD of New Age acoustic guitar.” I finally gave it a chance, and was pleasantly...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues