Vectrexcentricity — Lifelike Boy Android
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-01-23
Seeing the names on the cover of this release might very well lead to confusion — at least for those familiar with any of them. To fans of progressive rock, Michael Manring is most likely the best known. His masterful work on bass has graced a boatload of great albums from the technical shredding of McGill / Manring / Stevens, the RIO of A Triggering Myth, the world fusion of Barry Cleveland, and whatever you want to call Attention Deficit. But he’s always had a softer side, as with Cloud Chamber and his early Windham Hill releases. Killick Hinds is more known in avant-garde circles for his experimental guitar (and guitar-like creations), which often ranges into atonal, chaotic craziness, whether acoustic or amplified. So what do you get when you put these two together with a drummer for recording sessions? Manring’s fretless bass is generally dominant when he’s playing, and he’s in a generally melodic mood for these eight tracks, calling to mind Mick Karn, John Giblin, and Jaco Pastorius. Hinds provides more in the way of mood and atmosphere than standout playing with his fretless guitar and electronics. There are long quiet passages of indistinct sounds, sections that lock into a groove and go with it for a while, and odd electronic parts that sound like nothing else. “HyperVotilation” is one of the latter, four minutes of unison guitar / bass arpeggios accompanied by processed vocals while the drums provide cross rhythms that sometimes work with and sometimes against the continuous unison line. “Vertical Sloper” sounds a bit like a freaky outtake from a Police session that never got vocals. And anytime there’s a brief hint of a Torn / Karn / Bozzio vibe, something weird will happen. For one thing, Jamie DeRevere is a much jazzier drummer than Terry Bozzio, and plays a compact kit without any percussive augmentation. For another, Hinds goes a different way than David Torn in his expansion of the guitar’s palette. And at times there is a prominent electronic component, as with the rapid arpeggios of “Famicomcretion.” Lifelike Boy Android is the result of three talented musicians getting together with no preconceptions or stylistic limitations and coming up with something new that only they could have created. Life should be an adventure, and so should music. But don’t be put off if the first listen doesn’t click, and give it a chance. It’s well worth the time and effort.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
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 Santana, 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