Sleep Dep

Boundary Issues

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Like their previous release, Beginnings & Endings, Sleep Dep plays nine pieces that are spontaneously composed. This can be risky business. First, the members of the group have to be closely attuned to the musical and stylistic proclivities of their playing mates. Otherwise, there's complete anarchy. Second, there is a matter of shifting gears from track to track to avoid the tendency of simply extending what was on the previous track. Failure to avoid this trap is guaranteed to foster listener ennui very quickly. Both of these risks are pretty much overcome. The kickoff piece, "Sleep Dep," leans toward free jazz with strong guitar from Steve Willis and shows the influence of Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, and Weather Report, with its psychedelic tones created by a heavily amped electric bass. "Eye Crust" has wave after wave of sound rolling over the listener. In contrast, "Roll Over" has a discernible beat to it along with dynamics which allow for some separation. "Wake up and Go to Sleep" picks up with Dave Storrs laying down a Latin beat, providing the rhythmic framework for his mates to do their spontaneous thing. This CD certainly has a melange of sounds that come in many shapes and from a myriad of directions. The question is: "What is the point of it all?" If it is to show the individual and ensemble virtuosity of each member of the group, that objective has been achieved. If it is to show how music can be created on the spot, that too, is successful. But this stuff has a harsh and strident edge to it. So if one needs something to soothe the savage breast, this is not the album to take down from the shelf.

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