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Steve Tibbetts - Big Map Idea CD (album) cover


Steve Tibbetts


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.68 | 12 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This is one of many (but not all) of Tibbetts recordings that is an intricate mixture of guitar and percussion. To me, the billing on these albums should be Tibbetts and Anderson, referring to Marc Anderson, who frequently accompanies Steve and arranges the percussion tracks. Tibbetts is the dominant creative genius, but the integrated textures of guitar overdubs and intense driving percussion are inseparable on these Tibbetts/Anderson albums. Without the percussion, the music would be lacking the enormous emotion and intensity it provides. Accompanying musicians here are Marcus Wise (tabla) and Michelle Kinney (cello).

Big Map Idea, the sixth Tibbetts album, is a set of hypnotic compositions with dreamy depth and texture, quieter than most of the other Tibbetts/Anderson compositions, but with not nearly as much quiet introspective space as Tibbetts' third album, "Northern Song". To some, this might have a darker mood than others, but I find it a refreshing and enjoyable set of tracks.

"Black Mountain Side" begins the album, it's a significant improvement of the Jimmy Page track first heard on Led Zeppelin's first album (although I love the way it works as a lead-in to "Communication Breakdown" on that earlier album). As usual, the percussion here and throughout Big Map Idea is top-shelf. The ensuing tracks are largely based on excellent percussion and acoustic or subtle electric guitar layers; this album lacks much of the searing guitar layers featured on other of their albums (especially on Exploded View and select tracks on others).

Part of an interview of Tibbetts by Michael Engelbrecht included in the liner notes of the CD describe Tibbetts use of sounds from the natural environment: "There are a lot of possibilities in sound; possibilities of boredom and of entertainment, there are possibilities of sound actually tapping into your memory and uncovering something with potential, with energy. sounds unlock a flood of emotions.. So you can go into the field, into the arena, out into the world with a tape recorder looking for sounds with coherent harmonic content, good rhythmic content, or emotional content. When you bring these sounds back into the studio and record them on to one track of your. recorder, those sounds will inform the music you're making around them: An emotional situation will inform the music. You can use these sounds as a skeleton, as a scaffolding for a piece of music, as a mold for a piece of clay. In the end, if necessary, you can pull the sound away and let the music exist on its own." He later adds he and Marc arrived at this approach because they "were bored with recording in the studio."

Finally, don't let anyone fool you into thinking this is even remotely comparable to New Age mush (or any other typical category that music is pigeonholed in). If you are new to Steve Tibbetts, you probably wouldn't want to start with this one (consider Yr, Safe Journey or Exploded View instead). But if you've discovered how good the music of Tibbetts and Anderson is, this is another in their collection of very worthwhile compositions.

3.5 stars, very worthwhile if you are a Tibbetts fan, questionable if you aren't. Peace.

Flemdido | 3/5 |


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