Bright Shadows

Dose Hermanos

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Bright Shadows Review

by William Ruhlmann

Bright Shadows is the fourth album to be released by Dose Hermanos, the improvisatory keyboard duo of Grateful Dead alumni Tom Constanten and Bob Bralove, following Sonic Roar Shock, Live from California, and Search for Intelligent Life. But in a sense, it comes in between Live from California and Search for Intelligent Life in that it is really a revised version of the soundtrack for the team's 1999 video Shadow of the Invisible Man. The only material that is new is the title track, divided into a "Processional" that opens the CD and a "Recessional" that closes it. (The CD is enhanced with video imagery for these two tracks, the first highly abstract, with squares of swirling colors, the second featuring nature scenes cut to the music.) The textured sound will be familiar to anyone who has heard recordings by Constanten or Bralove before, or the earlier Dose Hermanos discs. For those who have not, the two interact with each other, trying out themes and passages, and answering each other's playing. A quick tempo may be used, as in "Darwin," or a very slow, contemplative one, as in "Persistence of Memory," which follows. Sometimes other sounds are allowed in; in "Alien's Alley," Bralove re-creates the "throat singing" of the Gyuto Monks with his voice. Or sounds are replicated on the keyboards, such as in "Bright Shadows (Recessional)," which has percussion- and guitar-like sounds playing in what sounds like a strong wind. The performers are not afraid to use dissonance, as they do in "Waltz of the Autumn Moon." What they do not want to do is produce anything resembling conventional music. This is free-form experimenting of a kind not unlike what the Grateful Dead used to do in the "space" sections of their concerts, and since both Constanten and Bralove are veterans of those shows, that's no surprise.

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