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Bruce Arnold - Disklaimer  (with Tom Hamilton) CD (album) cover


Bruce Arnold

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars American jazz guitarist Bruce Arnold (b. 1955) is not familiar to me in advance. Now I'm listening to one of his albums from Youtube in order to write the first PA review for this artist altogether. This particular album with a poor cover design may not be very representative for the guitarist's discography that consists of approximately twenty albums, several of them being collaborations with another -- and always different! -- musician. At least that fact alone hints at Bruce Arnold's adventurous and open-minded approach to making music. Tom Hamilton, then, is a Californian electronic musician. Seemingly he doesn't have a discography of his own but he has worked for TV productions and once described his music as a fusion of hip hop and pop. However, here you don't hear traces of hip hop or pop. This instrumental music is abstract and experimental, all about textures, sonics and ambience.

The five tracks vary between 5˝ and nearly 14 minutes in length. The first piece 'Disklaimer' starts with ghostly and other-wordly electronic sounds, soon joined by the electric guitar played in an improvisational free jam style, with lots of distortion in the sound. Occasionally you could think of Terje Rypdal for the guitar sounds, and possibly Fripp & Eno for the overall atmosphere. Throughout this album the two equal musicians together create an alienated and abstract soundscape which is not downright cold and hostile (ok, it actually gets more bizarre and tiresome towards the end) but vibrant and exciting. Definitely not suitable for background use with other people around, but a listener keen on experimental electronic music undoubtedly will find some interest here.

'Aurore from the Crowd' is the longest one, and a fine example of the music's spacey and meditative nature. I even might use the word beautiful. One could refer to the ambient-oriented Krautrock artists such as Ashra / Manuel Göttsching. 'Heaven on Eleven' is oriented to very abstract and hollow electronics comparable to the Vangelis album Beaubourgh, except for the shortly joining guitar parts. I'm not enjoying this track. Amusingly titled 'Serial Filler' continues in the similar direction. The guitar soloing in the end is powerful but at this point I'm a bit disappointed at the rather restricted sonic colour of the instrument. For the end of the album I would have preferred another more serene and meditative piece in the style of 'Aurore' but instead the electronic frenzy continues. I have to stick with three stars even though the first two pieces are worth four stars.

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Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | Review Permalink

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