ToPaRaMa — ToPaRaMa
(7d Media no#, 2014, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-10-11The publicity for this release said it didn't sound like a "drummer's album," the implication presumably being that a drummer's album would be a bad thing. But for ToPaRaMa, neither is true. It does sound like a drummer's album (or a drummers' album, in this case), and it is not a bad thing at all. This is a much more organic effort than the XtraKcts & ArtifaKcts release more than ten years ago, where Pat Mastelotto assembled a bunch of Crimson-related recordings into something completely new — although "completely" is a matter of interpretation here. This time around he has partnered with Tobias Ralph, the other Crimson ProjeKCt drummer, along with a number of guests on bass, keyboards, and assorted other instruments; the two principles also cover some instruments besides percussion. In addition to a reworking of the Crimson tune "B'Boom," they present a set of tracks based around rhythmic patterns, which could end up being tedious in less capable hands (and feet). The results are not surprisingly reminiscent of Crimson tunes of the 90s and beyond era, all of which have featured Mastelotto, only with more emphasis on the percussion and without the guitars. But even for those either not familiar or not fond of the later Crimson era, ToPaRaMa presents a fascinating sound, seamlessly blending electronic and acoustic sounds, playing and programming. And while the drums take the lead, there's no lack of melodic material, and nothing resembling a traditional drum solo of either the rock or jazz variety. This is a fascinating glimpse into the minds of two great drummers whose talents extend far beyond hitting things with sticks.
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 $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
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
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