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Paul Rogers / Kevin Norton / Nick Didkovsky: The Bright Lights, The Big Time

Glenn Astarita By

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This venture is actually the antithesis of what its title may intimate. It isn't the kind of thing you'd hear amid the glitz and glamour on Broadway. Even Kevin Norton suggests that listening with the lights turned off would perhaps heighten the overall experience. The music is firmly entrenched within the freer realm, yet it would be difficult to pigeonhole or stylize.

The trio navigates dark caverns laced with subtle diversions featuring Paul Rogers' pizzicato bass lines and Nick Didkovsky's electric guitar and laptop work. They traverse the lower register of sound-sculpting techniques as Kevin Norton toggles between vibes and percussion. However, they don't simply inhabit a continuous temporal plane; they often accelerate the free-form action via expanded notes, in concert with linear developments and more. In effect, the musicians render a shadowy sequence of events. Norton's brisk vibe phrasings serve as a contrasting element to the generally harrowing background treatments.

On the 42-minute piece "The Big Time, the artists' collaborative effort suggests notions of bees swarming around a hive. Add to that Didkovsky's steely electronics and the band's intensely frenetic finale, and the overall impetus surges beyond a plight to expose hidden truths and murky environs. The trio closes the second and final piece with incredibly dense frameworks where all hell breaks loose. Their tightly coiled mode of attack uncannily imparts a myriad of impressionistic statements, generating a musically inexplicable black hole. Turn off the lights and you might notice that time and space are ultimately transformed into to a guise of nothingness. Eagerly recommended.


Track Listing: The Bright Lights; The Big Time.

Personnel: Nick Didkovsky: electric guitar, laptop computer; Paul Rogers: A.L.L. (custom acoustic) bass; Kevin Norton: vibraphone, drums, percussion.

Title: The Bright Lights, The Big Time | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: FMR Records

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