Friday, April 27, 2007

Viktor Krauss - II (Back Porch/EMI, 2007)

Bassist and guitarist Viktor Krauss is widely known as a sideman and as a studio musician for some of the leading musicians of contemporary music including musical polymath Bill Frisell. Here, he steps out with his second solo album, joined by Dean Parks on guitars, Matt Chamberlain on percussion and several guest artists. The album is a polished mix of Americana, rock, pop and a little jazz. Krauss notes that the record is about parts, colors and sculpted sound. This comes through in the final product which seems a little over-produced and glossy. This is album is primarily instrumental with a few guest vocals. Shawn Colvin sings a breathy and earnest version of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and Lyle Lovett sits in for a lackluster “(I Could Have Been Your) Best Friend.” Indian vocalist Shweta Jhaveri adds some interesting texture to the musical mixes on several of the tunes, adding an exotic air to the proceedings. The instrumental constructs fare a little better, especially the opening "Hop" which builds to a nice conclusion of twin guitars and bass, and "No Time Like the Past" takes on a dusty sepia-toned feel. The music here is immaculately played, but never seems to develop an edge or move into any territory beyond pleasant background music. Krauss and company are very talented, there's not doubt, but the music lacks any kind of iconoclastic edge that sets it apart from other adult contemporary music being produced today.

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