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martes, 29 de marzo de 2016

Michael Shrieve / Buckethead / Hellborg - Octave of the Holy Innocents (1992)


Seguimos con el eclecticismo de Michael Shrieve, esta vez junto a Buckethead y Hellborg, en un disco muy bueno traído otra vez por el Mago Alberto. Una rareza que rescatamos, como tantas otras, pero es solamente para adelantarse a otras rarezas aún más difíciles de conseguir que se vienen en cualquier momento. A difrutar de un gran disco!

Artista: Michael Shrieve & Buckethead & Hellborg
Álbum: Octave of the Holy Innocents
Año: 1992
Género: Jazz rock
Duración: 44:36
Nacionalidad: Multinacional


Lista de Temas:
1. Rana & Fara
2. Death That Sleeps In Them
3. The Past Is A Different Country, I Don't Live There Anymore
4. Child King
5. Kidogo

Alineación:
- Michael Shrieve / Bateria
- Buckethead / Guitarra
- Jonas Hellborg / Bajo



Seguimos con los discos de Michael Shrieve, ahora con un pequeño cambio de formación pero un gran cambio de estilo, tomando como referencia el disco que recién presentamos.
Vamos a las palabras del Mago Alberto.


Segunda presentacion de Michael Shrieve esta vez junto a Hellborg y Buckethead, cambio de violero y un disco que de movida y conociendo a Buckethead uno podría suponer que estaríamos en presencia de guitarras eléctricas chillonas y velocísimas, pero nada de esto sucede, es todo lo contrario, acá hay un Buckethead relajado, acústico, climático, un Hellborg también profundo y muy de base, y un Shrieve casi jazzístico.
Un trabajo para poner de música de fondo y darle su tiempo de maduración, en "Two Doors" hablábamos del sonido artesanal de Shrieve y en esta ocasión está un poco mas trabajada la bata, y muchísimo más al frente, y el protagonismo es mucho más evidente que en el mencionado album.
Quizás como crítica, podríamos mencionar la mezcla en sí del álbum, donde las acústicas del Cabeza de Balde están muy atrás, y va en detrimento del proyecto, pero es un detalle menor, escuchando el enorme despliegue de estos tres enormes músicos.
Cabezones, trio de bata, bajo y viola que lejos de ser un power trio, sí es un trío para escuchar, denle su oportunidad, aparte los muchachos no son bebés de pecho.
Mago Alberto



These guys are redefining the power trio. Each is able to showcase awesome playing power while remaining as a unified whole. I don't know what I'll call this album, except for really cool jazz. It's like these guys know what people want to hear, so they play that. This album, however, is diverse, not a full throttle assault. They give the listener a break with easier passages, which makes the album feel a little longer than it actually is. Ex-Santana drummer Michael Shrieve is somehow able to rhythically keep these shredders in check while shredding a bit himself. Dangerous material.
K. A. Bright

Explosive Acoustic Fusion Set Ranging from Good to Otherworldly
Jonas Hellborg has played with some of the best, THE BEST, ever in the last 20 years. It is amazing that some of the most phenomenal modern fusion all comes under his name, yet features vastly different talents and quite contrasting sounds. For OCTAVE OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS, Hellborg enlisted the skills of modern guitar madman Buckethead along with veteran drummer Michael Shrieve (a minor star of the Woodstock festival while playing with Santana.) There are two versions of this album, an original power trio version and a 2003 update which includes gothic choir voices at various spots in the music. I have the update, and unlike some reviewers, I think the voices add to the exotic ambience Hellborg and company create.
I must mention that although I am a guitar shred fan, I am not very big on Buckethead. His signature move is fast chromatic runs both out of time and out of key with the music he's playing. There are very specific instances where this technique makes musical sense, but most of the time it's like an out of place announcement of "yeah it's me, the guy in KFC hat." Fortunately, on this album, all of the playing is acoustic (I believe Buckethead is actually playing a nylon string) and on all but the first song, all of the instruments play much more within the compositions, without the long-form soloing that reveals the individual, rather than collective, musical voices of the band.
This brings me to the difficult aspect of this album. The opening tune, "Rana and Fara," contrasts with the rest of the album sharply. Opening with an almost electronic-sounding beat, the song spans over fifteen minutes and is all over the place. The early drums are extremely out of place with the acoustic sound of the album (? Part of the 2003 redo), and there is way more noodling on the track than on any of the later songs. All three players get extended solos, and Buckethead's are particularly annoying. Again there are a few places where his hammer technique actually benefits the song, but mostly it's his distinctive "look at me, I'm weird" sound. Hellborg and Shrieve's soloing are both nice but unmoving. For me, this track is 2-3 star material.
Then comes the rest of the album, which I would be tempted to rate as masterpiece. These pieces are compositions which use polyrhythms, complex tonality, and intertwining parts to create a dark but colorful exotic sound that is unique to this particular album. The solos exist much more within the context of the song. On "Death that Sleeps in Them," Buckethead's solo spot is tasty and bluesy with just a touch of his "outside" style at the end. His choice to simplify the tonality is brilliant, a musical choice on an abundantly musical album. "The Past is a Different Country" is a slow, beautiful piece where Hellborg and Brian Carroll (his real name, I'm tired of typing "Buckethead") exchange lines with the delicacy of new parents. Carroll is hauntingly restrained, and Shrieve is simple and subdued. The sense of openness in the composition is akin to recordings of jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, simply transcendent.
My favorite track is a fast paced Middle-Eastern inflected piece called "Child King." In perfect contrast with the previous track, the song bristles with excited energy. Shrieve swings away with a superficially classic jazz beat, but adds in plenty of pepper to accent Hellborg and Carroll's fleet lead playing. There is no wankery here, as the players seem to have found enough interest "inside" the exotic scales used. We end with "Kidogo" which has the most harmonically interesting lead motif of the album. Hellborg takes his best solo spot on this one, and the interludes feature intricate, quick melodic lines. In other words, it's a great prog song! The goth choir voices are especially effective hear and send the listener out in a ghostly release of calm. Again, the darkness spun here is neither scary nor cold, it's more angelic shadows of the past, whispers of remembered beauty.
I usually don't dock a masterpiece album for one bad song, but when the artist chooses to lead with that song, and it takes up a proportionately huge part of the album, it's hard to ignore. I actually always skip past the track when I listen to this album, something I rarely do. The album still comes highly recommended. Another Hellborg gem.
Jay Brieler

Those familiar with the respective musicians discographies might normally expect this affair to be a turbocharged, jazz/fusion set also featuring wacko, prog metal type characteristics. Such is not the case with this production, as these artists opt for the "unplugged" route. On the other hand, there's no lack of excitement here, as this acoustic-based power trio generates quite a bit of momentum in concert with a few ethereally enacted dreamscapes.
On this release, Jonas Hellborg uses a custom made acoustic bass guitar. The electrified and generally dazzling, heavy metal-like inclinations of guitarist Buckethead are tempered into an acoustic format here, as drummer Michael Shrieve lays down a series of torrid backbeats to complement his hard-hitting, polyrhythmic fills. However, most of the album's highlights reside within Hellborg and Buckethead's deft plucking, and uncanny implementations of counter melodies, sparked by reverberating flows.
They explore odd-tunings to coincide with several high-octane movements, as Hellborg even slaps his bass strings on occasion, thus injecting techniques normally used by electric bassists. Yet it's all about the sparkling chemistry that prevails throughout this wonderfully conceived and executed project! (Strongly recommended)
Glenn Astarita

There are two jazz rock albums of the 90's which I rate highly: 'Octave of The Holy Innocents' and the difficult to find 'Save The Robots' by Conrad Schrenk's Extravaganza.
'Octave' was recorded in the early 90's, when Hellborg was crossing and recrossing many music boundaries, in his musical experimentations and fortunately many ended up on record. Hellborg here is joined by the original Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, (by this time having had 15 years as an independent musician), and a young, then unknown, Buckethead (a connection no doubt made because of Hellborg's collaborations with Bill Laswell - e.g. check out Praxis).
What makes this a very special jazz rock album, is the unusual combinations of instruments: acoustic bass guitar (Hellborg) and acoustic guitar (Buckethead). Both guitarists will pleasantly shock with their sheer speed of attack and complex playing - this is both an essential album for acoustic shredders and those who desire to know what one of the best acoustic bass guitarists in the world can do. And Michael Shrieve - always an individual drummer - his playing is a delight, complimenting Hellborg and Buckethead perfectly.
Hellborg wrote the following to describe the reasons for writing and recording this album, and the anger clearly expressed in the words with be heard clearly expessed in the playing:
"In a World of premeditated mass murder by governments, of rampant pedophilia, of values turned inside out by media tycoons in order to make money, of torture and unchecked genocide. Who is innocent? Who will protect the innocents? And who will stand up and face the grotesque explanations of why a 10-year-old girl walking to buy bread is shot in the back by a soldier, why parents molests their own children. How can a soldier who is somebody's brother rape.
Why can people be annihilated in the name of God the merciful.
Is it a consequence of these peoples evil? Are they aware that they are evil? Is their evil maybe only somebody's perception? Are they maybe just defending their own truth against somebody else's evil or truth. Who is pure? Who is innocent? We need to protect innocence. Not only individuals rights to be innocent but also innocence as a source of beauty, creativity and wisdom."
This is one of my rare 5 star albums.
Comment must be made of the remix/remaster "Represented" version of 'Octave', released 11/12 years after the original. Hellborg on the Bardo Records site states: "When looking over the tapes of these sessions I discovered tracks that I did not use the first time around. So there are no extra songs on this reissue, but a fundamental reworking of all the compositions of the first release. Some new light on this music that I did with 2 of my absolute favorite musicians". Personally vocals of sorts find their way into the background, seemingly randomly, while not annoying can be distracting and do not add to the original release of the early 90's; (hence I rate this version 4 star).
Richard Heath

This album is quite unique - great Swedish fusion bassist Jonas Hellborg plays with still young and unknown Buckethead and ex-Santana drummer Michael Shrieve as acoustic power trio!
Hellborg is known by his experimental look on what the fusion is, and his bass often sounds not like you possibly expect. Buckethead from another side is controversial guitar player with tons of recordings (of very different quality). Happily there small miracle happened - the music being acoustic doesn't remind McLaughlin-DiMeola-De Lucia trio's sound at all. Sound is sharp and extremely energetic, no Spanish flamenco or even traditional jazz guitar's elements are presented. Music there is pure jazz-rock rooted fusion with all characteristic rock elements!
Musicianship of all three musicians is excellent (I was especially surprised by Shrieve jazzy drumming), compositions are enough melodic and structured with space for improv at the same time. If you like quality jazz-rock with guitar on the border with shredding, and wonder how could it sound in acoustic version - this album is one of the best you can find around!
Possibly one of the most original acoustic jazz-rock album from 90-s.
Slava Gliozeris




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