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Modulator

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 18, 2010
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Trey Gunn teams up with extreme drummer, Marco Minnemann, for this tour de force of compositions. Modulator is the culmination of working with a live 50 minute drum solo of Minnemann's. Gunn calls this ''the most challenging recording I have ever taken on.'' All the music was composed and produced on the top of this one contiguous drum solo. ''Considering I don't even care for drum soloing, that these pieces have turned out so amazing, is utterly astounding to me,'' Gunn recounts. Touch guitars, basses, ouds, fiddle, wurlitzers, strings and uillean pipes all make an appearance here. These recording prove, without a doubt, the old saying - ''with great restrictions come great creative leaps.''
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 18, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 7D Media
  • ASIN: B003BI774A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,234 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Jeff Hodges on May 30, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As both a concept and a musical statement, "Modulator" is a tour-de-force of experimentalism. Spilling beyond the categorization of "rock" or "prog," it challenges the already hazy distinction between improvisation and composition. No secret has been made as to the creative process behind "Modulator," so you may already be aware that it began as a 50 minute drum solo by Marcus Minneman that Gunn wrote the album around. That Gunn can hear the kinds of musical possibilities expressed on "Modulator" within the framework of an unaccompanied drum solo bespeaks of a rare degree of musicianship and creativity.

The drum solo, itself improvised, is a testament to Minneman's percussive concept. The depth of his performance is impressive, even more so when you consider that it was conceived on the fly with no external feedback from another musical body. Gunn's compositional contribution, however, is often sublimely chaotic, as well. The net perception is that the performance is improvised, but, if reports are to be believed, the process was arduously mapped out. A closer listen reveals Gunn constantly interacting with Minneman, sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly.

Drawing focused comparisons is a little difficult, because "Modulator" is intended to be digested as a whole. There are no "singles." In the bigger picture, I catch just a little Patrick Moraz (which I'll further allude to in a moment) but most prominently, Gunn's musical contributions to King Crimson and the ProjeKCts are brought the forefront on "Modulator." Beyond this obvious comparison, I find I can also relate Modulator to Frank Zappa's more experimental work from his late 70s line-up with Bozzio and O'Hearn as well as his early 80s synclavier period.
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Format: Audio CD
The ability to take a 51 minute drum solo and make the music here sound as if it was nearly fully improvised is remarkable. The music to me generally sounds as if Trey took the lead, letting Marco play, and created a true "album", not simply a selection of songs. It's a fluid piece with amazing texture, always moving along. Just as you find yourself bopping along, all of a sudden a thorough deconstruction of that moment takes place, and a new moment arrives. Too me, it requires an active listen. Although I must admit, this album, played loud in my car, feels just as right as any other long haul music I have.

Two musicians who remain true to themselves and the music can create remarkable moments. This is several of them.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm usual not a big fan of this genre, but I find myself listening to this over and over again. I love it in the evening as the sun goes down, out on the back porch. It seems haunting, soothing and yet uplifting too.
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