Once again Tone Center has come up with a supergroup of "chopsmeisters" who can really lay down some complex, jazz/funk grooves in an instrumental setting. Uncle Moe's Space Ranch is comprised of Tribal Tech members Gary Willis and Scott Kinsey, Niacin drummer Dennis Chambers, and skilled guitarists Brett Garsed and TJ Helmerich. These talents combine for a scorching set of maniacal fusion madness.
There's not a member of this band that does not get ample opportunity to shine on this CD. Helmerich lays down plenty of wild whammy bar theatrics at the outset of "email@example.com" before giving way to a searing pentatonic display from Garsed. "Swarming Goblets" features a heavy rhythm from bassist Wills and drummer Chambers, complemented by spacey keys from Kinsey while Garsed fires his way through the mix. The almost prog meets industrial sounds of "SighBorg" features a rampaging Chambers, who manages to get tons of mileage out of his drum kit with furious beats and nimble fills. Guitarist Helmerich also adds some crazy Holdsworth styled solos on this track that range from ethereal arpeggios to frenzied whammy bar excursions."Minx" has a very Satriani/Vai vibe going for it, while the rootsy closer "A Thousand Days" features some neat slide guitar passages and a killer melody.
For killer grooves, hot playing, and memorable melodies, you can't go wrong here. Uncle Moe's Space Ranch is one of the better instrumental rock releases to come out so far this year.