The Trey Gunn Band: The Joy of Molybdenum
The CD kicks off very impressively with the title track, which features some killer low-end touch playing by Gunn and a funky groove laid down by drummer Muller. As a matter of fact, the first four tracks on the CD continue with the groove assault - "The Glove" features some amazing Hendrix-style jams emanating from Gunn's touch guitar, "Hard Winds Redux" sounds like an updated and more danceable version of 80's Crimson classic "Disclipline," and "Rune Song: The Origin of Water" succeeds with some breezy drumming and Gunn and Gaballe's tandem "math rock" guitar runs. While Gunn is obviously meant to be the main attraction on these cuts, it is actually Muller's drumming that drives the tracks and keeps the rhythm moving along. It's quite obvious that this band can pretty much throw down a funky groove at a moment's notice, and it is the tracks that take advantage of this asset that are the most successful on the album. Which is exactly why I was totally stunned that the band decided to devote the last two-thirds of the album to a non-descript string of repetitive and uninspired ambient compositions...
Where the first few songs on The Joy of Molybdenum were examples of well executed future-rock tunes, the last batch of songs on the album are examples of plodding and uneventful experiments in noise. By taking Muller's effective drumming out of the mix, the songs lose a lot of their power, and instead become a string of bland trance-like cuts one right after the other. The album's closer, "Tehlikeli Madde" picks up the pace a little bit - but by this point the listener will probably have given up on Gunn and Co. or fallen asleep altogether.
In short, The Joy of Molybdenum is a very uneven release. The faster and more rhythmic tracks that start off the CD are excellent showcases for the band's instrumental prowess, but the ambient compositions that round out the CD are musical wastelands that simply suck all the life out of the listening experience. Hopefully Gunn's future efforts will focus less on background ambient music and more on in-your-face funk grooves. Unforunately, with Joy, this Gunn misses his mark.
Track Listing: 1. The Joy of Molybdenum (5:27), 2. The Glove (3:57), 3. Hard Winds Redux (4:08), 4. Rune Song: The Origin of Water (6:13), 5. Untune the Sky (7:17), 6. Sozzle (4:53), 7. Gate of Dreams (5:22), 8. Brief Encounter (5:57), 9. Tehlikeli Madde (3:41)
Personnel: Trey Gunn: 8, 10, and 12 string touch guitars, mellotron, theremin, shortwave, smokey guitar; Tony Geballe: electric guitar, saz, acoustic 12-string guitar, leslie guitars, UPS guitars; Bob Muller: drum kit, tabla, bandir, darbouka, bodhran, dumbek, gamelan drum, rik, metals, shakers
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock