Brian Gingrich

White Rim of Heaven

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Although billed to bassist Brian Gingrich and despite the fact that he wrote all the pieces presented here, The White Rim of Heaven sounds like a group effort. The collaborators he chose have strong personalities and they brought more than what is usually required or expected -- to a point that fans of David Torn will definitely not want to skip this album. The four tracks (out of seven) he graces with his twisted guitar playing and looping could be mistaken for his own if it weren't for Gingrich's sinuous fretless bass anchoring them. Dean Jensen also does a more than decent job on the other three tracks, but especially in "Fading Days," maybe the most accessible piece here -- the hit single if you had to look for one. Gingrich's music relies on ambient textures, dexterous jazz-rock playing ECM style, and a healthy dose of creativity. Despite its atmospheric outlook, this album requires a little more effort from the listener, all rewarded in the end. Multi-tracked electric guitars weave thick textures; drummers Eric Batterman and/or Leo Murphy (depending on the track) provide a firm backbeat and exotic percussion. Some of it sounds too programmed to work out well, especially in the first half of "Batterie of Last Resort." The longest tracks with Torn ("The Knotted Cord," "White Rim Stories") take you on a soaring electric journey and score the most points.

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