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Guitar summits take on new connotations with the advent of GTR OBLQ. Recorded live in New York's Knitting Factory, GTR OBLQ takes us into the 21st Century with digital loops, limitless EFX, electronic rhythms, sonic mayhem and stunning electric guitar expertise by Elliot Sharp, David Torn and Vernon Reid. Much anticipation has surrounded the release of this cd and essentially, the end product is what this reviewer mentally prepared for. GTR OBLQ is a staggering exhibition of three electronic guitar heroes developing and expanding upon unorthodox concepts that for the most part, seem "unclassifiable."
There are seven individually composed tracks and many, such as "The Sentinel" consist of electronically programmed rhythms which supply the listener with a firm backbeat to grab hold of. The trio frequently trade solos and in most instances incorporate a "group" sound. This is not a free-for-all blowout session ! There is an abundant array of ideas whether abstract or improvised. Torn and Sharp are well known for their mastery of electronic music besides being cited for their general guitar craftsmanship. Reid (ex-Living Colour) hard rock guitarist has always been known for his adaptability and proficiency in many genres. Together they blend sonic Pandemonium but somehow it all makes sense. Throughout, Torn represents the soaring, probing piece. Sharp at times, cuts his guitar to shreds with superhuman speed. Reid, is everywhere and contributes on all avenues. There is plenty of improvisation and stretching out on GTR OBLQ. You may hear things you never thought possible or probable.
Let's hope that the Knitting Factory continues with this series, perhaps in alternating fashion. This reviewer would covet the notion of guitarist Robert Fripp's inclusion at some point in time. GTR OBLQ contains plenty of idealistic jazz elements, rock and in illustrative fashion charters unknown territory. Hear it for yourself and partake in the journey.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.