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.
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
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
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