Time Travel







Wind & Wire
- A Review by Bill Binkelman

Richard Bone

     Electronic keyboard wizard and wunderkind Richard Bone is running out of frontiers to conquer (thank god - I'm getting tired of raving about this man and his awesome talents!). Disorient is his homage/tribute/what-have-you to world fusion music. And, it comes as no surprise, he¹s done it again. This album is so freakin' enjoyable that damned if I didn't play it twice as many times as I needed to before writing this review. Mixing his sly sense of fun with a more overt rhythmic intensity, exotic percussion effects, and world music sensibilities, the Boneman has yielded a recording that stands toe to toe with his "hip" trilogy (Electropica, Coxa, and Ascensionism) while barely anything like them. If I had to pick my favorite from among these four CDs, I couldn¹t do it - all of them are winners, pure and simple.

     "In Japa" starts the Disorient party in a subdued vein, blending quasi-gamelan musical textures and rhythms with a soft free-jazzy piano line. Tinkling bell trees lend a tropical air to the festivities. The lightness in the repeating refrain just naturally put a smile on my face, as I pictured myself lazing about in a hammock, sipping something cool (and not a soft drink either, if ya gets my drift). Synth choruses complete the picture, whispering like an ocean breeze.

     "Barhoom" makes it clear that Richard has more on his mind than just relaxing (yet hip) instrumentals. The percussion on this cut is right in your face - shakers and bass drums are counterpointed by various electronic keyboards and some wild synth strings (tuned to sound like a cello and upright bass section). When the more overtly world fusion-like elements chime in (tambourine-like percussion, wood sticks, and Eastern modalities), things start cookin¹ in serious fashion.

     There are also more obvious excursions into modern day electronica on this album, proving that Richard wants to show he can keep pace with the best "young" artists in contemporary chill-out. Witness the Eastern-flavored drumand bass number, "Sudanaram," which could land on any one of the many releases I have heard on the Six Degrees label lately. Then there's "Intricate Autumn," which opens with spacy synths and delicate bell tones, but is shortly overtaken by polyrhythmic hand drums and slow tempo quasi-jazz piano. East Indian tabla dance around the periphery (and they're mixed delightfully - use the headphones!) and it¹s easy to visualize sitting in a cafe in New Delhi, listening to a jazz band play something like this.

     Another electronica-laced number is "Arabaya," which just flat out kicks ass - seriously thumping bass beats, rapid fire rhythms, and synths right out of a London all-night Asian Underground rave (Talvin Singh and Joi - look out! The Boneman is after your crowns!). The first time I heard this I thought "Whoa! THIS is my beloved Richard?" But after a minute, my ass told my head to shut up and get down.

     And that's what Disorient is about - getting down. Richard has yielded an album chock full of fun, even when it's subdued. Representing a true melting pot of world fusion electronica (dig the Mediterranean textures meets gamelan rhythms of "Patterns of Motion"), this recording is brazen as hell yet so accessible and likable that I'm tempted to buy copies for all my friends. Spin this one all the way through and if your feet never start tapping, you had better get thee to a doctor and have your pulse verified.

     As a summation, while there is no denying the overall world music feel to this CD, those who normally shy away from that genre should be aware that Richard Bone seldom does things in an ordinary way. So despite the presence of traditional musical elements from India, the Far East, and the Middle East, there is also a healthy dose of the same cyber-electronic magic that fills his previously mentioned masterpieces. If you get all the way to the sultry snaky rhythms of the album¹s last cut, "Buddha's in Baghdad," and say that you didn't have at least a partly good time, well, my friend, you simply do not know how to live. Yes, Richard Bone has once again delivered the goods - this time with liberal doses of curry and cilantro it seems!

Review by Bill Binkelman