Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dylan Ryan Sand - Circa (Cuneiform, 2014)

This is a lean and mean guitar trio, of interest to both fans of modern jazz and experimental rock music. Ryan is the drummer, accompanied by the rhythm section of bassist Devin Hoff and guitarist Timothy Young. The performances are lithe and to the point, coming right out of the gate with “Trees, Voices, Saturn” which has sparks of guitar and drumming balanced around Hoff’s bass. Hoff has played with the likes of Nels Cline so he is well equipped to anchor a hard charging trio. Timothy Young was unknown to me before this recording, but his playing is consistently interesting adding well developed textures to the music as well as shredding when the situation calls for it. Ryan released a very good album last year, Sky Bleached, and his profile has been justifiably rising. “Procession” flirts with some grinding heavy metal and the track “Sludge Thread” takes a post modern look at Mahavishnu Orchestra like fusion, with Ryan’s persistent cymbal rhythm showing the way forward. The group demonstrates their dynamic ability on the track “Visionary Fontana” with the music beginning with grinding guitar riffs before slowing to a more open spaced feel, before ramping things back up again. “Mortgage on My Body” may be a paraphrase from Robert Johnson, but the sound of the band moves away from the blues with effects-laden guitar and keen bass and drums support. Finally, “Raw Rattle” has a raw nature that develops a rending guitar opening into a pummeling trio section, which has the leader’s powerful drumming riding point. This was an album that worked very well, the band has no preconceptions of jazz, rock or anything else, they just take the music at hand and go for it, making for an exhilarating listen. Circa -

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