Tony Levin

Resonator

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Bass legend Tony Levin, who is the only bass player Peter Gabriel will take with him on tour and who has also toured and recorded with Paul Simon, Sarah McLachlan, Peter Frampton, and many others, as well as occupying the bass chair with King Crimson for over 25 years, has released music under his own name before. But Resonator is the first album to feature his vocals and lyrics, and while it's never safe to assume that instrumental brilliance will necessarily translate into lyrical skill or vocal ability, in this case Levin seems to have the hat trick. That's not to say that his voice is especially exciting, but it's not embarrassing, and his lyrics are generally quite good. But as is the case with almost any recording with which he's involved, it's the bass playing that really rewards close listening. This is especially true on tracks like "Places to Go" (scored for bass, percussion, and vocals), the gorgeous and deeply moving "Beyond My Reach," and a darkly exquisite, faintly Crimson-esque instrumental titled "Shadowland." On "Utopia," his chord progression harks back to the Beatles, and his appropriation of classical material on "Sabre Dance" is both good-humored and sophisticated. Here's hoping for more of this type of thing in the future.

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