Once a student of guitarist Robert Fripp's, Trey Gunn has since graduated to become a longtime member of Fripp's group King Crimson and a bandleader in his own right. Playing what he calls a "touch guitar" (an eight-to-14-string tapping instrument custom-made by California designer Mark Warr), Gunn functions as both rhythm section member (with drummer/percussionist Bob Muller) and melodic partner (with guitarist Tony Geballe) on his fourth CD, The Joy of Molybdenum. Hard to define even by King Crimson's genre-defiant standards, the disc blends Eastern styles (Muller plays tablas and dumbeks as well as a drum kit) with occasionally metallic guitar and off-timed jazz/fusion rhythms. The opening title track is a 9/8 romp featuring staggered harmonic patterns by Gunn and Geballe, while "The Glove" showcases the guitarists' metal sensibilities over Muller's John Bonham-like drum pattern. Gunn and Geballe's accessories -- from acoustic 12-string guitar and mellotron to theremin, Leslie cabinet, and shortwave radio -- keep the psychedelia quotient high on "Hard Winds Redux" and "Rune Song," while Muller's arsenal of hand drums on "Untune the Sky" and "Gate of Dreams" make this trio approximate an acidic version of John McLaughlin's Shakti.
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AllMusic Review by Bill Meredith