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Steve Tibbetts

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Steve Tibbetts Yr album cover
4.22 | 27 ratings | 7 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ur (4:43)
2. Sphexes (3:49)
3. Ten Years (7:48)
4. One Day (2:27)
5. Three Primates (5:07)
6. You And It (7:24)
7. The Alien Lounge (3:42)
8. Ten Yr Dance 3:20

Total Time: 38:23

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Tibbetts / synthesizer, guitar, kalimba
- Marc Anderson / drums, congas, percussion
- Bob Hughes / bass
- Tim Weinhold / bongos, vase, bells
- Steve Cochrane, Marcus Wise / tabla

Releases information

CD ECM 1988

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STEVE TIBBETTS Yr ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Tibbetts' second album, Yr, is probably the album that every proghead has heard of and clearly the album's reputation has reached many different music circles. Released for the first time in 80, this album will get another release in 83 with a better artwork and legend has it a different mix (although I was never able to get this confirmed).

Unlike his debut album, Yr, Tibbetts is having a whole group with him that include both Marc Anderson and Tim Weinhold on percussions, this album is still in the same direction as his debut broadly influenced and still not easy to categorize. Because of this, Steve Tibbets is generally regarded as a fusion musician, but not in the jazz-rock sense of the word. You can hear there are still some Oregon traces in his music (the folk orientations of many of his tracks), but it is also much more than that because of the electrical dimension of the music and some downright rock moments, and although not mentioned, there are some layers that suspiciously sound like Mellotrons on this baby.

Tibbett's guitar work ranges from the acoustic folk to an almost guitar-shredder (check the closing of Ur), but one of the guiding line throughout the album are the ethnic percussions which ranges from Anderson's congas and drums to Weinhold's bongos and bells, but also two tabla drums giving an instantaneous Indian feel to some tracks.

Along with his debut album, Yr is definitely the album to discover this adventurous and almost-ambient guitarist. Much surprises ahead of you if you are to investigate these two albums.

Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second and most accomplished album from this under estimated essential jazzrock artist. The music is extremely sophisticated thanks to a huge studio work and instrumental research (on certain pieces, Steve plays not less than 20 different kinds of guitars). First album released on ECM, the music is ethereal and aerial, dominated by sublime guitars supported by percussions, with a slight eastern flavour sometimes. "Three primates" is a lively tune featuring a catchy melody. Without doubt the best Tibbett's album along with the first one, less experimental and psychedelic but more refined than the latter. This album is from 1980, but the music is timeless and is one of the best progressive efforts from the whole 1980's.
Review by fuxi
4 stars YR is the most charming Steve Tibbetts album I've discovered so far. Although it's similar in concept to THE FALL OF US ALL, which I reviewed earlier (bass and Indian-style percussion lay down repetitive rhythms over which Tibbetts plays solos on both acoustic and electric guitars), the mood is much mellower and dreamier. The first half of THE FALL OF US ALL sounds terribly hectic and the second half sounds despondent; YR, on the other hand, contains quite a few passages that will remind you of early Genesis at their most romantic (think of the opening sections of 'Musical Box' or 'The Cinema Show') without ever getting sentimental. It seems inconceivable that Tibbetts was unfamiliar with Genesis' music. He also includes passages where he plays solos against a lovely background of kalimba and vases (!) and fortunately he's wise enough not to see virtuosity as an end in itself.

YR has far more in common with sophisticated instrumental rock than with any kind of jazz. It should appeal to anyone who enjoys guitar-playing that's poetic as well as energetic; I can imagine it will be liked by admirers of Steve Hillage, David Torn, Brand X, Jade Warrior and (early) Mike Oldfield. Strongly recommended!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars This album came to me out of nowhere around the time of its release and remains a landmark album for me in that it helped push boundaries of what we like to call "world music." This virtuosic multi-instrumentalist from Minneapolis had the gall to compose an album of songs that have forever defied categorization on this self-produced album for the pristine sound of the ECM label. Though his followup albums continued to explore similar hybridizations of jazz, rock, folk, and Indian music, none have the power and draw that this one: even though it is made up of eight separate songs, I could never help playing the album start to finish once I'd put the needle down on song one.

1. "Ur" (4:43) sets the tone in a jaw-dropping MICHAEL HEDGES kind of way. (10/10)

2. "Sphexes" (3:49) follows "Ur" with what feels like is going to be an aggressive song before hand drums and other tuned percussives fill a soft lull, but then, yes, multiple guitars burst forth and tear it up for a few seconds. Then another lull of multiple percussives and spacey acoustic guitar play fill the sonic waves (lots of engineered effects) (9.5/10)

3. "Ten Years" (7:48) kalimbas, three or four of them! weaving together to open the song (bled over from "Sphexes") before talking drum and guitar harmonics and unfretted notes work their way in. Then suddenly at the two minute mark, an acoustic guitar jumps in an hijacks the song, making it all Indian folk sounding. But wait, enter two tracks of a searing electric lead at the three minute mark before settling back into a medieval folk sound. So weird and unexpected. Return of the searing electric before it all breaks down into all percussion and weird synth and harmonic effects. Astonishing! Did I mention this man's virtuosity on the guitars? (9.5/10)

4. "One Day" (2:27) opens for its first minute as a little acoustic guitar dittie like The Beatles's "Blackbird," but travels around many corners into different and, of course, unexpected territory. This guy has a sense of music making that is so foreign to my own. (9/10)

5. "Three Primates" (5:07) another multiple acoustic guitar opening before hand percussions and bass join in. Slowed down bridge at the one minute mark before heading into the second verse. At the end of the second minute electric guitar enters and makes a strong presence in the "chorus." Another bridge before the song enters a section of GENESIS-like picking and chord progression. Nice! Solo guitar starts off a rondo of fast arpeggi, joined by other guitar tracks, bass and tambourine. Another bridge, this time of harmonics and fast changing fast strumming chords is joined by tabla and 12-string to end. Cool! (9/10)

6. "You And It" (7:24) opens as a kind of Windham Hill thing before going Metheny "New Chautauqua" with Mellotron! and then going ape-crazy with some blistering electric lead and then ending with tablas and 'Tron! (9.5/10)

7. "The Alien Lounge" (3:42) opens with acoustic guitar kind of like the beginning of Led Zeppelin's "Lady" before morphing, (of course) into some very different directions of feathery guitar play. Near the halfway mark enter multiple tracks panning around with electronic guitars and synths and you have another uncategorizable sonic experience. (8.5/10)

8. "Ten Yr Dance" (3:20) dynamic acoustic guitar play (multiple guitars) with more searing electric weaving in and out from behind while the acoustic guitars dance frenetically with each other. Wow! Gorgeous and impressive! (9/10)

One of the all-time landmarks of world music, East-meets-West integration. This was 1980, people! Five stars, without hesitation!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is considered a classic and landmark album by many as American Steve Tibbetts offers up his version of World Music you could say with many ethnic instruments involved like kalimba, sitar, dobro, congas, tablas, maracas and more. I came in somewhat skeptical as I'm not big on acoustic music and there's a lot of that here but surprisingly we get quite a bit of electric guitar and maybe even more shocking mellotron on half of these tracks. I was won over rather quickly I might add with these excellent all instrumental compositions. I was reminded of Mike Oldfield quite often, even with some of the electric guitar work. I like the original black and white cover art but when Steve signed with the ECM label they changed the cover art to that new age-like looking picture which is still nice.

"Ur" is actually my favourite track on here. Acoustic guitar and percussion lead the way early and there's atmosphere as well. But when the mellotron arrives after 2 minutes with drums and electric guitar I'm in heaven. So good! "Sphexes" is a top four for me. How good does this sound with the percussion and electric guitar. It settles quickly though with percussion only but the guitar is back before 1 1/2 minutes lighting it up. Nice. It settles back once again. I like this one a lot.

"Ten Years" is very ethnic sounding with that picked instrument and percussion. Acoustic guitar eventually takes the lead then the electric guitar joins in around 3 minutes and lasts just over a minute. Back to the acoustic guitar then it all picks up after 5 minutes. Electric guitar is back after 6 minutes and it sounds pretty amazing a minute later. "One Day" is a short acoustic guitar piece.

"Three Primates" opens with acoustic guitar and the mood is a happy one. Lots of intricate sounds when the tempo picks up. It settles back before 2 1/2 minutes. A change in the rhythm a minute later as it almost swings here with lots of acoustic guitar melodies. Percussion to the fore around 4 minutes. "You And It" is a top four. Acoustic guitar as the atmosphere rolls in. Beautiful waves of mellotron here. Electric guitar and drums join in after 2 1/2 minutes, percussion as well. It settles back around 4 1/2 minutes sounding like the intro with the acoustic guitar and mellotron. Percussion before 6 minutes as the guitar steps aside along with the mellotron but the atmosphere continues before the mellotron returns. Great track!

"The Alien Lounge" is my final top four and it opens with acoustic guitar and a majestic sound of mellotron and more. It settles back as percussion comes to the fore and the mellotron stops. Acoustic guitar continues then the mellotron returns before 2 1/2 minutes along with some Oldfield-like electric guitar. Check out the gorgeous ending. "Ten Yr Dance" starts with acoustic guitar melodies and more as it picks up quickly. Electric guitar joins in but soon it's mostly acoustic guitar but contrasts will continue as he lights it up on the electric again.

Count me a fan of "Yr" and I have a feeling I'm just going to grow in my admiration of this the more I play it.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Steve Tibbetts' Yr would eventually, after a smaller-scale release in 1980, get picked up and given a wider release in 1987 by ECM - but don't expect anything like the polished, mannered in-house ECM style here. Instead we get a fusion guitar journey which draws on psychedelic, folk, and world music strands to really stretch the boundaries of the fusion subgenre into entirely unanticipated shapes. With material which could feel equally at home at a jazz club or at a free festival opening for Ozric Tentacles, it's a worthwhile listen for anyone who likes eclectic instrumental music with a strong fusion and folk component.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Yr has such an intimate and refined sound, yet allows plenty of room for improvisation. Yr has a very mature sound for and album from the 80s. 80s fusion was plagued by the plastic sound of albums like Future Shock (Herbie Hancock) and music from artists like Yellowjackets. The album is similar ... (read more)

Report this review (#372983) | Posted by Ktulu4997 | Tuesday, January 4, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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