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Steve Tibbetts - A Man About A Horse CD (album) cover


Steve Tibbetts

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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2 stars (First written review.) This one is more in the not-so-impressed category of these PA/library spottings of mine. I picked the album hastily, pleased to see that it's in the ECM label (my fave what comes to modern melancholic jazz especially from the Nordic countries). Next I saw that there's only guitars, percussion, percussion, percussion and percussion, and only titles like 'Lupra', 'Lochana' or 'Red/ Black/ Burning Temple', I began to doubt. Yeah, a narrow attitude I should be ashamed of. But I gave it a spin with as open ears as possible. At least the titles couldn't be more in sync with the music. There is a clear sense of Eastern mysticism made by multiple percussion. But it was something I'm not interested to form a closer relationship with. You see, it gets very tiring and monotonous, too distant, cold and unfamiliar to get really into. But if that combination (g+perc) and the Eastern feel attracts you, you might find this album great.
Report this review (#136002)
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Minneapolis guitar auteur Steve Tibbetts has been soaring fast and low beneath the sweep of our cultural radar for some years now, maintaining a musical vision built more around integrity than fashion. He may in fact be the best guitarist you've never heard, in part because, even after long exposure, it's hard to pinpoint his influences or classify his style: too ethereal for mainstream rock; too aggressive for ambient easy listening; and with a sensitivity to World Music far beyond the horizons of his northern Minnesota hometown.

This year 2002 album is (in my limited experience with his work) quintessential Tibbetts, typically building layers of overlapping liquid guitars over a perfect storm of exotic percussion, in this instance borrowed from the foothills of Kashmir: tables, gongs, shakers, and so forth. Individual track titles are meaningless: the entire album flows together with remarkable unity, sounding as if it was improvised on the spot and then carefully enhanced in post-production with a dizzy panoply of effects.

Rarely is there an actual melody to latch onto: most of it is a dreamscape of atmospheric rhythms and ethnic textures, blending pinpoint acoustic clarity with fuzzed-out electronic fury. It's an almost cinematic experience, in places resembling the soundtrack to a Central Asia action film. Sometimes delicate, at other times surprisingly harsh, the album as a whole is never less than compelling, and gives newcomers an ideal introduction to a unique (and unfairly overlooked) musical talent.

Report this review (#208754)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink

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