Marco Benevento: Between The Needles & Nightfall (2010)
and drummer Andrew Barr, Benevento plays his trademark battery of keyboardsa baby grand piano customized with guitar pick-ups, amplifiers and pedals, a Mad Inventor's suitcase of "circuit bent toys," an Optigan, a Mellotron and a Farfisa organnot infrequently, all on the same track.
Between The Needles & Nightfall, Benevento's third studio album in as many years, is as close to perfect as its predecessors, Invisible Baby (Hyena, 2008) and Me Not Me (Royal Potato Family, 2009). Once again accompanied by electric bassist Reed Mathis
At his core, Benevento is a sound sculptor, using loops and layered keyboards to create evolving collages of color and texture. Much of this is pre-arranged, but, remarkably, a significant portion is improvised, as was apparent on the DVD Live In NYC: The Sullivan Hall Residency (Royal Potato Family, 2009). During the extended residency, Benevento jammed with a rolling cast of guest horn players and guitarists, including some he'd admired from afar but never previously played with, and got about as fearlessly in-the-moment as it is possible to get.
And lest we forget, Benevento can also cut loose with a convincing "conventional" acoustic piano solo when he chooses to. He does so here on "Wolf Trap," a typically wild track though one with an ominous undertone quite unlike the joyous vibe found in most of his work.
If anything is wanting in Between The Needles & Nightfall, it is perhaps a little more variation in light and shade: the album gallops along with abandon pretty much from start to finish. On the other hand, just as a priapic male might enjoy being ravished in rapid succession by a dozen or so nubile houris, so too is it possible to lay back and enjoy Benevento's exuberance.
More light and shade or more houris? It's a tough call.
Track Listing: Greenpoint; Between The Needles; Two Of You; Numbers; It Came From You; Ila Frost; RISD; You Know I'm No Good; Music Is Still Secret; Wolf Trap; Snow Lake.
Personnel: Marco Benevento: piano, Optigan, circuit bent toys, Moog, Mellotron, Farfisa; Reed Mathis: electric bass; Andrew Marr: drums, percussion, electronic drums.
Record Label: The Royal Potato Family
Style: Beyond Jazz