Viktor Krauss

Far from Enough

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Composer/double bassist Viktor Krauss has spent a great deal of time lurking in the shadows as a much sought-after session player. With an audio resumé that boasts collaborations with Sam Bush, the Chieftains, Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, and Bill Frisell, Krauss is no novice. His debut for Nonesuch Records, Far from Enough, features a band culled from the very core of progressive country, bluegrass, and jazz. Sister Alison Krauss, string giant Jerry Douglas, drummer Steve Jordan, and guitar icon Frisell return the favor on 11 moody instrumentals and one choice cover. Self-described as "a soundtrack without the movie" -- which should really be its own genre by now -- Far from Enough bristles with late-night electricity and post-dawn melancholy, utilizing its author's abilities like a canvas painting itself. The supernatural fluidity of Douglas' slide work sneaks in and out Frisell's meandering solos like a jealous lover, especially on the rolling title track. Alison Krauss, whose delicate vocals are run through a David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti filter, harmonizes with her brother effectively, especially on the appropriately titled "Overcast," a spooky piece of mood music that reveals petal after petal of sneaky motifs. "Philo" begins with Viktor supplying a clever overtone lick on the upright while Frisell lazily flirts with the blues, maintaining a slithery allegiance to his jazzier tendencies, leaving Alison to lay on the glue with sultry "ooohs" and "ahhhs" -- the cover of Robert Plant's "Big Log" is effortless, and her breathy delivery fits the material like a new pair of shoes. The raw "Grit Lap" sounds like filler from Tom Waits' Bone Machine, but this aggressive style fares better on the funky "Here to Be Me," a pounding middle finger of a song that manages to achieve a near perfect John Bonham drum sound while simultaneously channeling Medeski, Martin & Wood. It's difficult to pull Krauss out of the mix, as his work so echoes his previous incarnations as a sideman. In fact, it's hard not to experience Far from Enough as the dark older sibling to Frisell's Nashville. However, it's a testament to his abilities as a collaborator that these excellent musicians feel so comfortable just being themselves, and the mark of a true captain to run the ship from the rear.

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