Steve Tibbetts is the thinking-man's guitar player whose music spans a host of influences -- folk, jazz, rock, ethnic, modern classical -- without being bound by any of them. Opening with a tabla-driven folksy cover of Led Zeppelin's "Black Mountain Slide," the album leads us through a collection of original pieces written by Tibbetts and his band members that are full of rich tone colors and inventive rhythms. His main instrument is acoustic guitar, but he also uses guitar synth, dobro, kalimba and something called a pianolin, while his colleagues add tabla, cello, steel drums and assorted percussion. The percussion creates a neo-primitive feel, with the carefully layered instruments often building up to an intense cacophony of refined fury. Sometimes lush, sometimes sparse, this music slips and slides between moods and styles. The crown jewel of the album is the 11-minute final track "3 Letters," where he splices in the sounds of chanting monks, Tibetan horns and cymbals, and children's voices he recorded on a trip to Nepal. Meanwhile cello, acoustic guitar, guitar synth, kalimba, tabla and assorted percussion come and go in a dizzying collage of impressionistic sounds.
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AllMusic Review by AllMusic