Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, World Music, Miscellaneous, New Age, Pop
It's been 14 years since Michael Brook did a proper solo album, Cobalt Blue, but that doesn't mean the guitarist has been absent from music. He's produced and performed on pop recordings by Julia Fordham and Jorane and ma... more »
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It's been 14 years since Michael Brook did a proper solo album, Cobalt Blue, but that doesn't mean the guitarist has been absent from music. He's produced and performed on pop recordings by Julia Fordham and Jorane and made numerous albums for the Real World label, including signature releases by the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Djivan Gasparyan, and Hukwe Zawose. He's also composed and performed on film scores and was part of Hans Zimmer's soundtrack posse, contributing notably to Black Hawk Down, among others. He throws all of that into his new album, RockPaperScissors, which could've been called RockPaperScissors and Whatever, as Brook slices up a career's worth of influences and drops them in one load--albeit an elegant one. Lebanese violinist Claude Chalhoub turns in a mournful duet with Brook on "Tangerine," singer Paul Buchanan shows up on the title track, and a Bulgarian choir turns up incongruously on a dreamy, '60s style guitar instrumental, "LightStar." There are King Crimson-like guitar grooves on "3 Doges," and on "Darker Room," a spoken-word sample of Richard Burton performing Dylan Thomas's "Under Milk Wood," quoting the "Starless and bible-black" line that Crimson connoisseurs will note as the title to a one of their albums. Given Brooks's extensive work as a film composer and session artist, it makes sense that much of the disc has a cinematic quality, with many tracks featuring a full orchestra. Excepting Lisa Germano's haunting turn on "Want", the other two vocal tunes drag. Rather than honing a sound, as he did with Cobalt Blue, RockPaperScissors brims with too many ideas, as if Brook thought it might be another 14 years till his next album and he had to get it all out now. --John Diliberto
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ironman of sand | phoenix, az | 08/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a longtime and loyal fan of Michael Brook. I believe him to be a brilliantly innovative and creative musical force. I was extremely excited when I heard he was coming out with a long overdue solo release.
'Cobalt Blue' is still one of my all-time favorites and his collaborations with Nusret Fateh Ali Khan and Djivan Gasparyan are equally powerful and compelling offerings. All masterpieces.
Brook has such a unique way of structuring his compositions, and when coupled with his experimental sonic approach it's just breathtaking. So many unpredictable and engrossing sounds, but not in a self-important way. It is very mindful of the vast expressive sea in which he swims in.
Upon repeated listenings within the past few days, I have to say that that "RockPaperScissors" is very captivating and engaging. Though I also enjoyed it upon first listen, I somewhat agree with the other review below that it didn't fully sink in upon first listen. I'm glad it didn't. I usually find that the greatest work - music that penetrates deeply and lasts over time - usually has to possess this enigmatic quality. Michael Brook has captured it in spades.
I also read the critical review and see that person's point; the album at first is a bit wide in its scope. Yes, it is representative of Brooks' entire oeuvre, but in the best of ways. Even Brook describes it as a 'travelogue'. In the end, it absolutely adds up to much more than the sum of its parts, and thus, it is great art.
However, I don't believe that the particular reviewer who wrote that review allowed himself the pleasure of repeatedly listening to this sublime recording. There are many layers here, both sonically and vibrationally (if you know what I mean), which cannot possibly be absorbed in one or two surface listens. It is also important to be in the 'right' environment and headspace to openly receive this type of reverent music.
Having heard "RockPaperScissors" now seven or eight times I fully 'get it'. It truly is a masterpiece. In some ways better than other previous albums, but only time will tell.
Though I love the entire collection of songs, highlights for me are: "Strange Procession" is classic Brook, with abrupt changes in tempo and haunting guitar notes. "Doges" is a polished and primal ethno-trance sure to pull you into the jungle muse. The title track, "Rock Paper Scissors" even works for me; Buchanans' voice works perfectly with Brooks' sonic weave . "Light Star" perfectly builds into crescendos with the assistance of a surprising contrasted Bulgarian chorus. Again it totally works, very well I may add. "Silverized" is my favorite; it's just gorgeous and terribly beautiful. It reminds me a bit of Eno & Lanois' "Deep Blue Day" from "Apollo" soundtracks, which may simulataneously be the most inspiring and deeply sad song ever recorded.
I only hope we don't have to wait another 14 years for Brook to come out with another solo recording. He is far too gifted and amazing to just allow those he works with to take centerstage. Shine on Michael Brook! Thanks for all of your creative energy, it is very appreciated.
P.S. For those who may be interested, check out an interview NPR had with him on Sundays 'Weekend Edition' (July 30, 2006). Nice insight and very humbling indeed.
Jody | Minneapolis, MN | 08/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard Mr. Brook on Weekend Edition, thought he sounded like a great guy and I wanted to support him and his new album he spoke so eloquently about. RPS, as I call it now, came a couple days ago, and this might be a bit cheesy, but I believe this album to be magical. Somewhat a musician myself I am amazed at the seamlessness and gorgeousness of transitions every time I listen to any piece on this record. Brook very masterfully goes from electric guitar to an orchestra to a Bulgarian choir and it's so great that 1. I wish I had written it and 2. why doesn't everyone put a Bulgarian choir on their album!? It's just really beautiful. I can't even pick my favorite piece because honestly my answer changes every time I listen to it.
Supposedly this new album is a slight departure from previous works, if other online reviews are to be believed, and if it is, it is a departure to beauty and lushiness and exquisite detail that is so very worth listening to."
Bold, Beautiful, Haunting
M. Penland | Los Angeles CA | 10/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So compelling is this CD that on the rare occasions when the house empties, the first thing I do is turn on RockPaperScissors. It requires closer attention; one listening and you are entranced-at least I was. Then it resonates within you. Oh, Tangerine is so sweet and haunting. The Bulgarian Orchestra, Bulgarian Classical Choir, the Cosmic Voices- wow, it adds such a large dramatic sensation. I Loved Richard Burton doing Dylan Thomas in Dark Room. Bold, Beautiful, Haunting."