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Diego Barber/Hugo Cipres: 411

Dan McClenaghan By

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The opening of the decidedly modern music on 411, the track entitled "Timanfaya," sounds like a spooky, welcome to a plugged-in netherworld. It begins with electric surges and wafflings, then glowing beeps punctuating electric washes before a shift into tune two, "all in," that sounds as if the late multiple reedman Eric Dolphy is hanging around the place, where he's hooked up with guitarist/composer Frank Zappa.

The music is the brainchild of classical guitarist Diego Barber—who hails from the Canary Islands, and now lives in New York City—and electronic music composer Hugo Cipres, who is home-based in Lanzorate, Spain. A stew of Barber's guitars blended with Cipres' desktop backdrops and Seamus Blake's saxophone and EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), backed by a deep groove bass and Ari Hoenig's very modernistic, rock rhythm drumming suggest a neon lit future world, one with a soundtrack soaked in trumpeter Miles Davis' On the Corner (Columbia Records, 1972) hipness, James Brown's bands late 1960s, early 70s, slashing guitar dance grooves and, perhaps, the Beatles—during the group's experimental, and too-brief, "Strawberry Fields Forever"/"I Am the Walrus" interlude.

"Turn It On" has the sound of a florescent light bulb going bad in very rhythmic fashion, and—like the rest of the set—features noises made by unidentifiable sources (who's doing what?), with a tight Seamus Blake sax solo slipped in. It's a sound that conjures images of strobe lights illuminating dance floors packed with bodies clad in metallic colors, topped with high-spiked hair, the women coiffed and made-up with a precise android perfection.

Multiple listens reveal multiple layerings. This 411 is quite the unusual and compelling experience.

Track Listing: Timanfaya; all in; Poncho; Walk!; New York Citric; turn it on; east side story.

Personnel: Diego Barber: electric and classical guitars, bass; Hugo Cipres: desktop; Seamus Blake: saxophone, EWI; Johannes Weidenmueller: bass; Ari Hoenig: drums.

Title: 411 | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Origin Records


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