Music Reviews - by Art Sabot
At Last! The long anticipated release of Collapsed Light became a reality of sorts in April.
The new CD features 15 songs which offer quite a bit of variety, everything from swampy to cosmic with just about everything in between. The CD opens with a 15/8 Mahavishnu inspired theme called Cactus Juice, that explodes into a southern swing sort of groove which celebrates celebration itself. The second offering is called EVERYBODY NEEDS A LITTLE MAGIC,
it is an ode to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. A heartfelt thanks for Don Van Vliet's uncompromising musical visions. The swamp guitar stylings recreate the mood of the good capt. in the verses, and refer to some of his work lyrically as well.
"Dr. Dark and me" for instance, refers to the song Dr Dark found on Lick My Decals Off.
The magic is of course the Magic Band.
Make a shamanistic gleeful noise! Alchemy! Music!
ALIEN SUN, the next number on the album,
asks the musical question "what if you woke up in an alternate universe"?
One in which you found yourself in a Sergio Leone film shoot
whose location was possibly in an unknown galaxy?
One in which you were the same but everything around you changed?
Tuco: "Hurrah! Hurrah for the Confederacy! HURRAH!
Down with General Grant!
Hurrah for General... What's his name? Lee! LEE! Ha ha.
God is with us because he hates the Yanks too. HURRAH!"
Blondie: [spits]" God is not on our side because he hates idiots also".
The 4th tune, TO GO ON, draws some inspiration, guitar wise, from Pete Townshend's work.
In general, the album is a collection of songs that share two traits,
one is they were done in the same time period of roughly all of 2009.
The other is a duality of some kind. Quantum Physics and the artistic spirit.
Possessing opposing qualities in some sense.
Light and dark. Yin and Yang, Joy and Melancholia.
Contrast is the 1st law of art as they say. And Ben is an artist who paints with musical colors both subtle and vivid.
MATEWAN is a song dedicated to Coal Miners everywhere, and the tireless efforts of the organizers who fight for fairness. It is simply about one of the seminal conflicts in American labor's struggle against economic tyranny.
Listen for the Appalachian dulcimer!
The musicianship throughout is superb as is the production. The material is artsy without really being noticeably so. If I had to make a reference, I'd say Peter Gabriel meets Depeche Mode with more focus on guitar work than either of them. Overall this is certainly one of the best releases of the year. Highly recommended.
Other standout songs include "The Somnambulist", a funk oriented piece about sleepwalking through life and "Osiris Awakes" which features ancient Egyptian funerary texts as a texture as well as the vocal talents of EVRiM .
Visit The Ben New Files for more information.
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