Stick Men: Deep (2013)
Track review of "Whale Watch"
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Interestingly enough, this production was funded by fans through the Pledge Music website. The positive outcome should instill delight and a sense of fulfillment for the band's patrons, perhaps one of the densest incarnations of a progressive-rock trio imaginable. Tony Levin's (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) Chapman Stick work, coupled with Markus Reuter's (Tuner, Europa String Choir) Touch Guitar articulations communicate an intimidating presence. Otherwise, first-call session drummer Pat Mastelotto toured and recorded with Levin during their stints with latter-day King Crimson.
Deep is amassed with sonorous bass parts and the frontline's sinewy and effects-laced phrasings amid booming choruses, as the trio strategically incorporates odd-metered beats into its Herculean gait. The final and lengthiest piece on the album is "Whale Watch." Here, they navigate through a labyrinth of orchestrations propagating ominous intentions, yet temper the fiery onslaught with calming metrics. And the musicians raise the pitch by launching into a weighty and shifting King Crimson-like vibe where Levin and Reuter employ various distortion techniques and monster bass lines atop Mastelotto's resonating fills and hammering backbeats.
With stormy cadenzas and gradually climactic momentum, the band sails through the high seas via a massive wave of sound while extracting numerous hues from their respective instruments. The Stick Men eventually wind matters down a bit, and soar onward with fuzz-toned chord voicings and meticulously designed single note riffs. Overall, they yield an ungodly musical environment, spiced with generously proportioned, and at times, awe-inspiring progressionsboosted with the exhaustive dominion of a goliath on the loose.
Track Listing: Track #1; Track #2; Track #3.
Personnel: Tony Levin: Chapman Stick and voice; Pat Mastelotto: acoustic drums, electronic drums, percussion; Markus Reuter: 8- and 10-string Touch Guitars, live electronics.
Record Label: Self Produced