My taste in music is eclectic. But there is a thread of consistency, which is that my favorite music tends not to be that easy to get into (at least not for the casual listener). I lover layers, I love sonic experiences. I pine for complexity, musically and rhythmically. In turn, I am not an overly great fan of the ‘three minute pop song’ (but trust me – there are hoard of those that I love as well.)
But make no mistake, my listening patterns reveal that I tend to come back to albums where I can keep discovering new things – no matter how many times I have listened to them. The corollary generally holds as well, in that when I do get into it too quickly it tends to fade away equally as fast. Of course with all those massive generalities – there are exceptions. Many of them. But I am sure you get my drift.
To provide some context, I was brought up on a diet of Yes, Genesis (the real one), Pink F … You get the inevitable list of 70s Prog Rockers. And like all good followers of that genre of the day, the bands spawned the solo artists like Gabriel, Hackett, Wakeman and even the less known (at least in the ‘household’, names like Bruford, Fripp and Belew – and of course the aficionados amongst you will spot the very carefully placed connection running through those last three names – as they and others emerged into a new generation of bands like Asia, ELP and UK. Aaaah indeed takes you back doesn’t it ?
Three names from the ‘Prog Rock Jazz Fusion’ world of the 70s have recently come together to launch a new album and a new sound. The textual layers that make up the album I suspect are driven by Levin and Torn, both known for – and masters of – what I would call sonic soundscapes. Both have made very good livings, won awards, played with the best and have enormous careers.
So, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to review this album. And to do so took some listening.
In the end – I have to say the album disappointed me. There – I said it.
Disappointed ? Why ? Simple really – it ended !
The album was so good that I was disappointed that it ended. And joking / shock tactics aside – the disappointment came at the end of my fifth listen – and therein lies my worry for the albums commercial success.
We live in a weird world of disposability, not only including music, but where complex arguments are ‘discussed’ in 140 character sound bites. I think the ‘Haikus’ for the New Millenium are causing as much miscommunication as connection, resulting in finding ourselves living in an increasingly disposable world. Agree or not – what is that to do with this album ?
Here’s the question. Who will give this an album a chance?
People who know the team and track them don’t need reviews like this to make a decision. They will buy it.
So this review is aimed at a group of people who are in ‘music discovery’ mode – either through trawling the web, seeking recommendations from people they know or respect – or getting recommendations simply by coming across reviews like this.
The web trawlers will listen for a minute on their tiny tinny (sic) computer speakers – jump through the samples and will likely pass simply by missing EVERYTHING. The resonance, the depth, the sonic experience – this album has it all. But in minute long snatches of mp3s you will miss the essence and move on to the next piece of ‘disposable music. Let me just say this now – do that – and you are nuts.
Which leaves me with recommendations. If you are looking to me for a recommendation, I will tell you right now – go buy it. It might not even be your cup of tea, but I guarantee you will enjoy exploring such a sonically rich tour de force as this one. (And trust me the sonics won’t come through on the MP3 – or even the embeded SoundCloud below.)
If sampling is your approach to buying music, read no further, delete this message from your mind, climb out of yourself – and go buy it. Now.
If however you seek a lasting engaging experience with your music, seek to explore and find new threads running through each and every track you play each time you play the album – maybe you should stop reading this right now and – go buy it.
It is available at Amazon in the US store now >>> and go here to buy it on Amazon US - it will cost you $10.94 – seriously, what can you buy for that these days – certainly not something with these kinds of legs !
If in the UK – you can preorder from BurningShed - a superb store by the way – and while there order this - wherein you will find amongst other things a short movie that includes Steven Wilson providing a very coherent explanation of why the arguments laid forth in this post / review are not only accurate, but will allow you to conclude that …..
buying Levin Torn White is the only logical choice for your next move.
Update :: 27th September – it isn’t just me – this is what others are saying