Zapotec — Alpha Centuri
(Psycho-Audible PA-0001, 1998, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 1999-11-01When I first listened to this disc, I quickly categorized it as jamming space rock. The first track builds from quiet ambience to a throbbing jazzy thrash, consisting almost entirely of an every-effect-available guitar solo. That first track is misleading. The bulk of the music recorded here is tightly arranged instrumental rock on the jazzy side, reminiscent of Return to Forever’s glory days. At times it cooks like Mahavishnu or crashes like Crimson or even floats like Happy the Man (if you can imagine them as a jazz combo). The dominant sounds are Bill Curtis’s electric guitar and Anna Hubbell’s violin, though keyboardist Jeremy Cubert gets in a few good licks. Odd meters abound. Lightning unison lines are balanced by delicate acoustic passages. Curtis is a player of great technical proficiency, with a rapid picking style along the lines of John Goodsall rather than the fluidity of Allan Holdsworth. I find the only real weakness here (and it’s a small one) is the fact that the musicians supporting him, while excellent players, tend to pale a bit behind his flash. But who wouldn’t? Fans of Brand X or Mahavishnu looking for something new would do well to seek out this disc. I hope it’s the first of many by this promising band.
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
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more