There's a sly wit to every Béla Fleck & the Flecktones album; the foursome of virtuosos takes its progressive fusion of jazz and bluegrass to such extremes (and with such ease), the musicians can't help but smile. "Nemo's ... more »Dream" exemplifies the spirit of the group as each member--Fleck on banjo, Howard Levy on piano, Victor Wooten on bass, and Future Man on drum-synth--let loose and have their fun. The title track erupts with a flurry of notes from Fleck and Levy that slowly evolves into intricately patterned quartet interplay. "Magic Fingers" never stops being funky. And "True North" starts out (oddly enough for this crew) with a plaintive, New Agey pennywhistle. "The Yee-haw Factor" returns the disc back to its wild bluegrass roots. One of the Flecktones' very best. --Jason Verlinde« less
There's a sly wit to every Béla Fleck & the Flecktones album; the foursome of virtuosos takes its progressive fusion of jazz and bluegrass to such extremes (and with such ease), the musicians can't help but smile. "Nemo's Dream" exemplifies the spirit of the group as each member--Fleck on banjo, Howard Levy on piano, Victor Wooten on bass, and Future Man on drum-synth--let loose and have their fun. The title track erupts with a flurry of notes from Fleck and Levy that slowly evolves into intricately patterned quartet interplay. "Magic Fingers" never stops being funky. And "True North" starts out (oddly enough for this crew) with a plaintive, New Agey pennywhistle. "The Yee-haw Factor" returns the disc back to its wild bluegrass roots. One of the Flecktones' very best. --Jason Verlinde
"In a world of carefully marketed, nondescript, written-for-radio music, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones are the proverbial breath of fresh air. Some will give the disc a cursory listen, debate about what category to file it under, and completely miss the point. It's not about doing what's been done. It's not about following trends. Above all, it's not radio-friendly. Flecktones fans wll love this record for the same reason they love every Flecktone release. It's inventive, fun, emotional, and brilliantly played. For the uninitiated, the group consists of banjo master Bela Fleck, bassist Victor Wooten, his brother Roy (also known as Future Man) on what he calls a synthaxe drumitar (basically a handheld electronic percussion unit), and harmonica and keyboard innovator Howard Levy. Coming from bluegrass, jazz, pop, and folk backgrounds, they quite simply create some of the most intriguing music around. Unfortunately, fewer people hear of this band than should, in large part due to the fact that retailers can't easily categorize them and radio programmers don't know what to think of them. For the adventurous music lover looking for something real, however, this could be just the thing."
If you're not farmiliar with the flecktones, look out!
peter krampert | 06/14/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the first Flecktones album that I heard, and I must say it was a memorable expirience. A friend threw this album into the CD, player and what followed was a religious and life altering experience. The first thing i said was "Is that a banjo?" The answer: "Yes... that my friend is Bela Fleck" My second comment: "who is that bass player?" the answer "Victor Wooten." This album will redefine all musical classifications for new listeners, and if your stereo is good enough, it will shake the very earth you stand on. Perhaps this album is my favorite flecktones album because it was my first love, but in reality the others are just as good. The flecktones are unsurpassed in all ways. If they come to your area check them out live, because the albums, while awsome, are just the tip of the flecktone iceburg"
Music for anyone who LOVES music
High Y | Charleston, SC United States | 02/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It broke my heart to see only 4 stars as the average for this album, so I, as a Flecktone fanatic, had to do my part to get this to the deserved 5-star mark. This may be the best Flecktone album ever, and it certainly is the best from the era with harmonica/piano/miscellaneous virtuoso Howard Levy. "The West County" is a good opener, with a wall of futuristic drum synth, a complicated banjo line, and bass that will shake your soul, thus setting the appropriate "beautifully complex future music" mood for the album. "Sex In a Pan" is an offering from the hands-down god of all bassists, Victor Wooten, and so it takes things more into the realm of smooth funk. "Nemo's Dream" puts the ball back in Bela's court, and no musician around could make something this strange sound so deceptively pretty. "Bonnie & Slyde" is another pretty number, but more in the traditional and detectably Nashville (it features a slide banjo) sense. "Scuttlebutt" is a fireball of complex funk jazz that will make you smile and breakdance at the same time. The title track is perhaps the most awe-inspiring composition ever attempted by the Flecktones, featuring superfast airtight comp and imitative polyphonic runs on all instruments to weave a dizzying web of musical palindromes that HAS to blow your mind, as long as you have ears. "Magic Fingers" is another neat song, and if by this point you are somehow still in denial of the virtuosity of Bela & co., you won't be for much longer. "True North," another fav of mine, takes a direction towards the worldier sound that seems to show up more on the newest Flecktone albums. "Life Without Elvis" is pretty weird, but it always makes me smile. "Seresta," a Levy composition, is a Spanish number with a neat tapped bass line; it is decent, but not an album highlight. "The Yee-Haw Factor" picks things back up to the pitch that "Scuttlebutt" had in the middle, with a brilliant (of course) bluegrass banjo part being turbo-charged by Victor's thunderous funk... oh yeah, and a little islandy break with tin flute to chill you out at various points along the way. "After The Storm" is the smooth finisher, and it is, to me, one of the sweetest and yet most haunting songs I have ever heard. I never listen to this song without being in a place where I can close my eyes, open my mind, and give it the full attention it deserves. If you've never heard the Flecktones, start out with "LIVE ART" as a perfect introduction; but once you're intoduced, check out UFO TOFU, and you may not have such a hard time deciding what you're favorite band of all time is anymore."
Michael Joseph Goodman | 06/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album displays an unclassifiable, amazing, virtuosic band playing at their best(Well, maybe not, they're better live)! Bela Fleck takes the banjo to places it has never been before. He moves the instrument beyond bluegrass into such realms as jazz, rock, and funk. He is brilliant and innovative in all these styles and more. In addition, he is a skilled composer, in which he once again spans every style imaginable.
Victor Wooten, the bassist, is by far the best in the world. If you are impressed by Les Claypool, listen to Victor. Claypool is doubtless great, but he cannot come close to the virtuosity displayed by Victor Wooten. He utilizes revolutionary playing techniques to play unbelievable solos, as well as making it sound like multiple bassists are playing.
Howard Levy plays harmonica, piano, whistle, and synthesizer. He frequently plays more than one at a time, and while he is proficient on all of these instruments, he is most impressive on the harmonica. Every time this guy plays harmonica, he wows me. He coaxes sounds from the instrument that it was never designed to play, while making it sound smooth and beautiful.
The groove is anchored by Roy "Futureman" Wooten, who plays both a traditional drum set and his own invention, the Synth Axe Drumitar. The Synth Axe Drumitar is a guitar like instrument that Futureman can use to play virtually any percussive sound. He frequently plays both the Drumitar and a traditional drum kit at the same time.
From the funky bass line of "Sex in a Pan" to the high octane bluegrass of "The Yee Haw Factor" the Flecktones prove that they are an unstoppable band."