"Strong words, I know. I was first introduced to this recording as a volunteer DJ at WEFT in Champaign, IL back in 1983. This recording changed my life.
Steve Tibbetts' music defies categorization. His own tongue-in-cheek description, "post-modern neo-primitivism," only hints at the contents of this wonderful CD. He succeeds in making a legitimate bridge between rock and world music; think Jimi Hendrix with Zakir Hussain and Mongo Santamaria as the rhythm section. Layers upon layers of guitars - sometimes 50 dubs deep - swirl around and entwine with all sorts of world percussion, including tabla, congas, bongos, shakers, vibraslaps, flexi-vibes and lots of other incidentals, thanks to percussionist and longtime Tibbetts collaborator Marc Anderson.
The music doesn't follow standard concenpts of Western song structure (Intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, etc), but instead takes the listener on a fantastic journey of soundscapes certain to paint wonderful mental pictures for the listener. If you have any hint of synesthesia in your family history, you'll get a good workout with this recording.
The CD has much better sound than the original self-released LP, but there is a differnce in the mix. I spent $20 and got a hold of the original LP; I prefer that mix and am willing to take a bit of a hit in sound quality to get it. The original mix has a lot more stereo imagery than the CD release...MUCH more fun with headphones! :)
This must-have recording is certain to please guitar freaks of any sort. Get anything Tibbetts has released; I've acquired everything he has made available to the public, along with a couple bootlegs of his concerts. I've yet to be disappointed. Tibbetts is a singular talent, and is a master of his craft. Five Stars."
S. Mayo | 01/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my 2nd Tibbetts album; I also have Exploded View. While there are obvious points in common, they are almost startlingly different. Exploded View gets wild and almost frantic at points, a go-in-all-directions explosion of sound. Yr has a mellower sound. I wouldn't call it melodic, precisely, and it has enough complexity to be fascinating, but where Exploded View is not soothing, parts of Yr are. Yr does a better job of pulling you straight in and getting inside your head. Parts of it recall Hackett, parts of it recall early Metheny (high praise, that), there are hints of Keaggy (in One Day), and bits of it evoke Yes, especially when the synth washes get layered in. Tibbetts has the rare gift of making musical twists that turns out to be nothing you'd expect, and yet exactly right.
If I were going to criticize, I think there's a bit too much emphasis on "look at the weird effect I can add here!" at points. (Oddly, while Exploded View is prone to that, it works better there.) And the recording quality could have been a little better on some of the percussion. None of this stops me from listening over, and over, and over.
By turns soothing, primal and slightly alien, this is an immediate favorite (unlike Exploded View, which takes a few listens to get used to). The guitar work is fantastic, but the compositions don't rely solely on the guitar. If you want to hear a creative genius crafting music for your brain, this is a great introduction to Tibbetts. If you want music to dance to or hum, you're very much in the wrong genre.
As for a category... well, it's guitar, and progressive, and there are hints of mechanistic techno, new age, jazz, ambient... it's Tibbetts. It's more or less its own thing.
Addendum: this was self-recorded while Tibbetts was in college. Now instead of noting the slight unevenness in recording the percussion, I'm astonished at the clarity of the recording overall (I have the ECM re-release). Very, very nice work in capturing those sounds."
Nearly songless and fascinating musicianship
Geoffrey R. Balme | raleigh NC | 03/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What I mean by nearly songless is that Tibbetts, like many before especially of fusion jazz background, or so called Krautrock inspired players, dispenses with the usual song structure - and lays on the guitar heavy and wonderfully. There's also some tremendously exciting percussion work. It's not like anything else you'll hear, as Tibbetts is a great player, who enjoys slapping up an almost unfettered acoustic sound, and layering it on top of a blazing sonic scream of entirely overdriven electric guitar excitement. His playing is fast and accurate, and very enjoyable. His post production layering work is excellent. the pieces are easy to replay over and over and rediscover each time. "
Flash of Genius
J. Wade | Gainesville, FL | 07/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A sparkling, rhythmic, compelling, warm, quirky, sensuous and yes, timeless work of musical genius...layers of complexity and depth. I heard it first in '81 and wore out maybe three copies of the LP before finally getting the CD. The mix is not quite the same, but I know I'll never stop wanting to listen to it. As Tibbetts said down in one corner of the original album cover: "use yr headfones.""