Music Reviews



Artist: Jim Ryan’s Forward Energy Trio
Title: FE3 Portland
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone Records
Rated: *****
Jim Ryan (alto/tenor sax, flute) uses the FE3 moniker as an umbrella for his free jazz/improv work which changes personnel as it moves from location to location. This particular incarnation finds itself in Portland, OR with the addition of Robert Jones (also of The Evolutionary Jass Band, Thee Oregon Artificial Limb Co., and Eternal Tapestry) on double bass, and Andrew Wilshusen on drums. We get what we expect from the free jazz/improv genre, lots of soloing and abstract accompaniment from the rhythm section. But we also get music as well. This is not your usual "beat the audience to death" aggro performance or is it so abstract that there’s nothing to grab on to while you’re going along for the ride, bumpy thought it may be at times. All three play with sensitivity as to how they sound and seem to be listening to each other. All manner of noises and sounds are made by extended techniques by all three musicians. No stone is left unturned in the search for new and interesting sounds.
Artist: Bobcrane
Title: His Mighty Hurricane Machine
Format: CD
Label: Inam Records (@)
Rated: *****
Bobcrane is the solo project of Ryan H. out of Bloomington, Indiana, USA, also of the drone-rock unit Vopat. What we have here are 13 tracks of beats, and guitars presented in a post-industrial stew of mechanized (for the most part) sound. The beats are not bad for the most part. Every once in a while they show their weaknesses in being too mundane or too forward in the mix, taking away out attention from the excellent guitar work. The guitar work is good and tends toward minor chords and ominous inferences. It’s not about the guitar-god flurry of 64th notes but rather setting a vibe that manages to keep our interest most of the time.
Artist: Destructo Swarmbots (@)
Title: clear light
Format: CD
Label: Public Guilt (@)
Rated: *****
Destructo Swarmbots is Mike Mare of Queens, NY, USA aided by various players. Four tracks of guitar generated ambience aided by what sounds like radio sources and synth ambient textures for good measure. Builds nicely in places and then backs off for a while, then builds up again. Good headphone music that slowly shifts between obvious guitar sounds and smeared time dilation. Perhaps the sound one would hear as they approached a black hole, of one could hear a black hole in the vacuum of space that is.
Artist: Eddie the Rat (@)
Title: Once Around The Butterfly Bush
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone Records
Rated: *****
Classified as avant rock I hear a lot of the RIO influence. The presence of a female vocalist may make this association to the Art Bears superficial, but that’s what I hear. And they’re not exactly a bad thing to be compared to in my estimation. With a revolving cast of characters that can get as large as 12 members led by Peter J. Martin, Eddie has chosen to go with a quartet for this recording, keeping it personal and as intimate as an impromptu concert in someone’s living room playing whatever was available. Instruments played include: Lo-Bro, 2X6, Spike, piano, gangsa, bowls, recorder, steel drums, and oil drum. Angular rhythms, strange harmonies, and weird subject matter make this release on the edge of things and out of the ordinary. A good solution to sonic boredom if you’re willing to give it a chance.
Artist: Nature Morte
Title: recluse
Format: CD
Label: Reue Um Reue (@)
Rated: *****
Layered field recordings and organ tones fill every space in your head in an attempt to produce a changed state of awareness. "Dead nature" is a possible translation of the project name, and environmentalism may be its source of inspiration. Apart from the well-meant philosophy we get another droney release that has countless companions in the drone genre of releases the world over just as good as all the others. So why should we listen? There is some very creepy stuff here. Along with the drones and field recordings we get the sonic equivalent of stasis and decay. This is nature out of kilter, not made with the big statement but with the subtle impression that something is not right. Kind of reminds me of early Tangerine Dream ("Zeit" in particular) in places.
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