JazzTimes (10/03, p.106) - "...Ceaselessly fascinating, the album reveals not only Rosenwinkel's purest motivations but also the possibilities of his alternative approach..."
Personnel: Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar, keyboards, drums, programming); Mark Turner (tenor saxophone, bass clarinet); Mariano Gill (flute); Andrew D'Angelo (bass clarinet); Ben Street (acoustic bass); Ethan Iverson (keyboards); Jeff Ballard (drums).
With this recording, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel creates a unique sound world, blending elements of jazz and rock with electronica, occasional Third World strains, and other grooves in an absorbing, inward journey that defies classification. In doing so, Rosenwinkel refuses to limit himself to the guitar, often contributing keyboards, drums, and voice, and at times he takes over entire tracks all by himself via layerings in his Brooklyn studio. The way Rosenwinkel extends his strings of endless melody over an ever-changing harmonic backdrop reminds one of the winding compositions of Wayne Shorter. Indeed, at times he produces a sax-like tone from his guitar, with Mark Turner's duskier tenor sax as a unison co-voice and a foil. "Blue Line" finds Rosenwinkel drumming in the left channel, keeping up a complex groove with drummer Jeff Ballard on the right, eventually overcome by synthesizer washes. "All the Way to Rajasthan" evokes the Pat Metheny sound but the rhythm is fractured and the music seems to have and lack direction at the same time. "Your Vision" is a loop out of a sci-fi film -- all Rosenwinkel except for Andrew D'Angelo's bass clarinet, a truly strange track -- while "Interlude" is another fascinating gauzy bit of electronica at the CD's halfway point. "Thought About You," another one-man track, takes a Turkish rhythmic vamp and gradually builds a moody, enveloping texture. Rosenwinkel claims that the music of Arnold Schoenberg and hip-hop alike inspired another technique on this CD -- producing unusual harmonic textures by means of different dynamic levels on the instruments in the mix. Well, maybe, but in a way, this is 21st century expressionism of a sort, creating levels of ambiguity and uncertainty, leaving the listener out on a limb yet always intrigued. Give it a shot; you may not want to leave this twilight zone. ~ Richard S. Ginell
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