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.
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more