Trance Mission — Head Light
(City of Tribes COTCD11, 1996, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-02-01
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.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more