Trey Gunn / Marco Minnemann — Modulator
(7d Media 1011, 2010, CD)
From the outset this recording sounds like a modern update of Eddie Jobson’s UK on steroids, with a scoop of 21st century Crimson on top. It was arrived at in a fascinating way. Master percussionist Marco Minnemann improvised at his drum kit for 51 minutes and sent the results to several musicians, including Trey Gunn, Mike Keneally, and Alex Machacek. With Modulator, Gunn has come up with some fascinating grooves to sync with Marco’s precision moves, all in step and engaging. This is not quite like Tuner, TU, or KTU, because Minnemann’s method differs from Mastelotto and Bozzio with his unique big-kit sound. The drumming on “Spray 1” sounds like Bruford at the kit. The pieces roll along until a unique audio roadblock is encountered in “Spectra,” in the form of traditional Irish instrumentation. After that, Gunn solos with an ominous interlude that leads into a wistful snare and cymbal interplay. The sour violin and bass clarinet samples race down into a corner that suddenly isn’t so blind after all. “Mono-Punkte” has Jaco Pastorius’ distortion-laden sound under and around a thrakking rhythm. “Coupling” goes into tricky ostinatos in off-timing and ends up with twinkling hammer dulcimers and pianos. Plus there’s a prominent Asian motif going throughout much of this music. Despite being recorded on separate continents at different times, it sounds like two fellows playing together in the same room. There is no discernible disconnection. It has all the improvisational angst of the Larks' Tongues rhythm section. This is a superb next step for Trey and his faithful listeners.
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