Time Travel







Wind & Wire
- Review by Bill Binkelman

Richard Bone

   Completing his trilogy that began with Electropica and moved on to Coxa, electronic keyboard maestro Richard Bone has ended his journey with Ascensionism. Drawing equal parts inspiration from the concept of the Ascension Schools (a Middle Eastern/Egyptian philosophical and religious belief system) and the beat poets (such as Jack Kerouac), Richard has finished his three-part series in sterling fashion. If you enjoyed the first two segments of this trip into “hep cat-land,” you’d best add this one to your collection as well.

   The opening cut, “Waters of Assiyah,” (I’ll let the more ambitious of you go to the website at http://mkmk.com/bone/ and read the glossary of terms, thank you) has a smooth sultry rhythm, sexy piano line, funky bass, bluesy trumpet and synth chorus. Now, I ask you, is there any doubt in your mind that this is a Richard Bone CD? Swear to God, I could listen to this man’s music every single day of my life. It may be the most affirming music in the world. I remember when Richard told me in an interview several years ago about how he didn’t like “dark ambient” music but preferred things in a lighter, more positive vein. Listening to any of the of the CDs in his trilogy, I now know just how committed he is to this philosophy. (Yes, his work on Spectral Ships and Etherdome is somewhat “dark,” but it’s still warm and inviting to my ears).

   “Sister Samadhi” is FUNKEEEE! Bubbly synth notes and beats, synth pan flute, and a sexy vibe take this cut into the cyber-lounge and park it there - yeah baby! Birdsong (!) and tympani signal the start of “Kavvannah,” a departure from previous cuts. The world beat textures here are more overt (but not “in your face” either) and the cut has a more “serious” air to it. It’s not pretentious in the least, though. Instead, it’s softly spiritual, even with its accentuated rhythms. But, if you think that track was atypical, wait til you hear “Ariel Dane and The Seraphim Swing” which offers up a lazy piano melody, breathy synth choruses, and carnival-like twinkling synth notes. A unique-sounding snare-drum beat enters the song alongside a trumpet; the results are excellent. The song is luxuriously pretty, as synth strings swell and then subside.

   The next selection, “Walkin’ the Dharma Bums,” is a return to the retro/cyber Bone I know and love. Quasi-Wes Montgomery-like guitar licks, sassy Hammond B3 organ and jazzy rhythms epitomize the hipness that has made these three (the trilogy) albums so much fun! A Miles Davis-ish trumpet line only adds to the picture. Next up, the title track could have been lifted off Coxa, with its bottom-heavy bass, electric piano, and ultra-sensuous rhythms.

   I’ll leave some of what’s left as unexplored, so that it’s a surprise. But, “Sultry Sally’s Meditation Alley” is just too damn cool not to mention. Tongue-in-cheek throughout, the song is laced with Herbie Mann-like flute lines, Fender Rhodes electric piano, and infectious midtempo rhythms.

   I’ve said it in a lot of ways but it bears repeating. Richard Bone, in my humble opinion, is a musical genius. His homages and extrapolations that comprise his “retro” trilogy are near perfect musical expressions that are both singularly unique and emotionally satisfying. Coxa, his previous CD, seemed to stay on my CD player forever (and with good reason, too!). Ascensionism joins the ranks of that release and Electropica as the final chapter in this series. I don’t know if a single artist has made three more enjoyable albums than these offerings from Richard Bone. Filled with sly wit, genuine warmth, and plenty of sex appeal, Ascensionism (and its two cousins) are all winners. Highly (sky-high, in fact) recommended!

   (And yes, there is a bonus cut on the CD, again...but if you think I’m spoiling the surprise, think again!)

Review by Bill Binkelman