Cuong Vu

Come Play with Me

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Cuong Vu's second Knitting Factory release finds him again in the company of bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer John Hollenbeck. The album's five long tracks are awash in Vu's legato trumpet melodies, often put through signal processors of various kinds to create a highly abstract sound world. The leadoff track, "Dreams, Come Play With Me," is a bit too nebulous to sustain interest over the course of 14 minutes. Things get more interesting when Hollenbeck kicks off the shuffle groove of "Vina's Lullaby," which has the melodic sweep of a Peter Gabriel-style anthem. Laurent Brondel joins the trio on guitar and lap steel for "Amniotic," adding rich harmonic color and giving the piece a meatiness that the others lack. Vu winds down to a mellow rock feel on "Safekeepings," then takes a radical turn to the chaotic "Again and Again and Again," closing out the album with heavy rock peppered with sonic abstraction. Vu is at work developing a compelling electro-acoustic model, but listeners may need to exercise patience in looking for the nuggets of inspiration.

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