Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marc Ribot - Silent Movies (Pi Recordings, 2010)

Guitarist and composer Marc Ribot is an eclectic soul equally at home playing punk rock, free jazz or more melodic fare. This intriguing album presents Ribot in a solo context with some subtle overdubbing or sound manipulation added to give the music an atmospheric feel. He writes in the liner notes that this project was inspired by films, both real and imagined, and he hoped to explore the nether regions between language, images and sound. What results is a dreamy and atmospheric meditation on the music of film. Tracks like "Flicker" have a mysterious soundscape built on a repetitive figure. It builds an ominous power from a medium tempo beginning, then high pitched notes float above a reflective strum. "Solaris" recalls the enigmatic story of the film and book with spacious and stark probing guitar floating through space. "Requiem for a Revolution" moves through an eerie winter landscape with subtle sounds framing Ribot's guitar in a spare and subtle nature. Cool loping strides of music coming dusty and wide usher in "Fat Man Blues," reminiscent of some of the soundtrack work of Ry Cooder. "Radio" also keeps the dusty time worn feel, placing the guitar at a distance, like something heard from an old time cylinder or cracking 78 PRM record on an old time blues radio show. Science Fiction informs "The Kid" with swirling sounds developing a spare and longing backdrop for Ribot's guitar probe. This was a very thoughtful and imaginative album that mocks at the idea of categorization, drawing on many different genres and musical ideas in order to create a world all its own. Silent Movies -

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