135

Red Snapper: Making Bones

Derrick A. Smith By

Sign in to view read count
Red Snapper: Making Bones When a band decides to transfer the backbeats and looped riffs of drum 'n' bass or hip-hop to live instrumentation, it faces a crucial problem. No matter how precisely the live drummer lays down the backbeat, regardless of the bassist's tone, the band will be judged in relation to other live bands; the group will not be able to rely solely on the novelty of realtime performance if it wants to survive criticism. The compositions should reflect the advantages of human interaction.

With Making Bones, Red Snapper present a brilliant downtempo / drum 'n' bass album. The core trio of Richard Thair (drums), Ali Friend (bass), and David Ayers on guitar specialize in a form of layering based on tiers of riffs. On a track such as "Bogeyman", a backbeat and a handful of bass notes establish mood, tempo, and texture; a guitar riff (think the looping Eb lines on Miles Davis' On the Corner ) adds some sharpness or liquidity; and the layering proceeds from there, adding any variation of vocalist, trumpet, trombone, and cello/violin/viola. Several tracks reach a dynamic intensity through juxtaposing these layers of instrumental parts.

The only problem with this approach is its mundanity. Similar results could be, and are, achieved in-studio, using samples and synthesizers. I wonder if the "fuck-off jazz" moniker the band has adopted refers to a dismissal of flexible improvisation. Since Charles Lloyd, Cannonball, and Miles Davis began seriously combining funk and rock rhythms with advanced jazz, the best fusion has pushed the groove outward with bold arrangements and improvisations, allowing individual players to transcend the basic beats. Red Snapper rarely does this, and even the trumpeter changes his tone only slightly to give some tracks more dynamism. Before their next album, Red Snapper should consider ways to make great fusion, not just great electronica played on live instruments.


Track Listing: The Sleepless; Crease; Image of You; Bogeyman; The Tunnel; Like a Moving Truck; Spitalfields; Seeing Red; Suckerpunch; 4 Dead Monks; Quicktemper.

Personnel: Drums: Richard Thair / Double Bass: Ali Friend / Guitar: David Ayers / Trumpet: Byron Wallen / Vocals: MC Det and Alison David / Trombone: Jez Friend / Cello: Nadia Lanman / Violin: Jacqueline Norrie / Viola: Brian Wright.

Title: Making Bones | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Matador


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Making Bones
Continuum Records
1998
buy
Prince Blimey
Continuum Records
1996
buy
Reeled And Skinned
Continuum Records
0
buy

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Notes Over Poetry" CD/LP/Track Review Notes Over Poetry
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 11, 2017
Read "Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge" CD/LP/Track Review Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey...
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "The Sparrow" CD/LP/Track Review The Sparrow
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "The Evolution Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Evolution Suite
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.