Exposé Online banner

Trance Mission — Head Light
(City of Tribes COTCD11, 1996, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-02-01

Head Light Cover art

Trance Mission is not your standard exotic world beat group. What I mean is that they don't just incorporate a compelling mix of exotic instruments: they exploit them. A short personnel breakdown points to relative clues: Stephen Kent (purported band leader) is an avowed Australian didgeridoo master who uses cello-sintir (filling the role of bass guitar). Using either of these tools, he is firmly centered at the the foundation for the aboriginal, outback rhythms which drive each of the eight pieces. Prime soloist Beth Custer is the melodic counterpoint for most of the tracks. Her clarinet adds a jazz swing era element as well as some whimsy to help lighten up the swirling gloom (e.g. on "In Frog Pajamas"). John Loose yields a handy dexterity to a set of log drums, tabla, and dumbeks. He is position-mixed close to Kent as the other percussive timber that pushes the low end of the tempo. Kenneth Newby is the unique instrumentalist for the group. By playing a combination of eastern wind pipes (P'iri) and 'Digital Atmospheres,' his role is one of textures and backdrop. From these individual components a base rhythmic element becomes obvious as the major impetus of the songs (rather than your traditional melodic center as in most Western music). By simply wading through the band resume, Mr. Joe Average may believe you've listened to outtake from a National Geographic documentary, but the rest of us can gather round the ceremonial campfire and revel in a moody global warming.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Trance Mission, Beth Custer

Latest news

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

FM - Black Noise – The reissue of the second album by this excellent Canadian trio has been long awaited by many. A rather nonstandard three-piece, their most unique feature was the substitution of mandolin/violin for...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues