Band: Levin Torn White
Band Website: www.levintornwhite.com
Label: Lazy Bones Recordings
Release Date: 2011
Perhaps it’s because of technology. Perhaps it’s just the nature of musicians today. There was a time when doing solo albums brought about the near collapse of bands, whereas today, if you feel like working with someone, you do it. You’ll forgive me if I avoid the use of the term “supergroup” as it’s so overused these days that it seems irrelevant. Here we have three talented musicians from the prog world who’ve joined forces to give us a unique instrumental album of music that features all manner of sounds and musicianship. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Tony Levin (bass, Chapman Stick), David Torn (guitar, textural events) and Alan White (drums, percussion). Now if there was a sonic reference point that needed to made to ascertain what these guys sound like, think King Crimson.
The album going under the name of Levin Torn White features 14 tracks, all instrumental and all relatively short. The longest is a bit over five-minutes and most are just under the five-minute mark. There almost seems a kind of intentionality in that. The trio has packaged so much musicianship into these compositions it’s hard to imagine that they need to be any longer than they are. In another world this disc might have seen the light of day as one long track with each of these pieces edited together. There is a distinct cohesiveness to all the material. However here these tunes are all presented as separate entities and each features some amazing playing and some gripping sounds. The first thing you notice is the general rock feel, then you notice a slight jazzy influence, and then some atonal moods, then some harsh solo lines…there’s a lot to notice! The tunes go from groovy beats to discordant in a heartbeat and then back again. This is pretty intense music. There is always something going on and it’s busy full of unusual sounds, drum patterns and harmonic distortion.
These are three top musicians at work and the music is quite amazing. Even if you’re not a fan of this particular style, Levin Torn White has packaged it up in digestible morsels in such a way that it’s easy to appreciate moving from one track to the next. There’s plenty of musical variety that will keep you thinking; “that sounds pretty cool!” Prog fans will definitely want to check it out.