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Slick, Julie: Julie Slick

At just twenty four years of age Philadelphia native Julie Slick's musical resume is an impressive one to say the least. She studied music along with her drummer brother Eric for six years and as a result got to rub shoulders with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Stewart Copeland, Jon Anderson and Adrian Belew to name just a few. In fact it was her meeting with Belew which inevitably led to her and her brother joining the Adrian Belew Power Trio in 2006. Now this talented player and composer is primed to step into the spotlight with the release of her self titled debut album.

Armed with an extraordinary cast of virtuoso players that includes King Crimson's Robert Fripp & Pat Mastelotto, master stick player Michael Bernier and drummer Marco Minnemann among others to help her get her vision across, Julie has put together an incredibly diverse album that touches on elements of progressive rock, jazz fusion and funk, with even a bit of electronica thrown in as well.

Considering the fact that this girl has chops to burn what's really refreshing about this record, and perhaps somewhat surprising as well, is that the majority of these fourteen compositions weren't crafted simply to be a vehicle for her bass playing. The emphasis is on the songs first and foremost, so if you're looking for a shit hot bassist who is just looking to blow off steam then you've definitely come to the wrong place. Now that doesn't mean there aren't any fireworks to be found here because a track like the electronica flavored "The Rivalry" features some ferocious bass and guitar playing courtesy of brother Eric to accompany Mastelotto's drum 'n bass style beats. Likewise "Cage Match" and "Baron Aloha" are relatively short compositions but they are packed to the hilt with some pretty wicked MIDI triggered guitar sounds.

Each and every one of these tracks is a highlight in of itself and that's because there is just so much depth to these compositions. Imagine a painter whose palette is overflowing with a multitude of many different colors and that will give you a bit of an idea of what Julie has achieved sonically with this eclectic offering, especially on a track like "February" which is just a flat out gorgeous song. Together with brother Eric on keys they extract more emotion out of the listener in slightly less than three minutes than some artists manage to achieve with a full album. It's a veritable cinema for the ears. While guitarist Robert Fripp was unable to contribute anything new to this project due to scheduling conflicts, he did allow Julie to sample some of his soundscapes. How she sculpts and molds these soundscapes on "Choke", "Shadow Trip" and "Spice Trade" and integrates them into her own textural, atmospheric arrangements is nothing short of compositional genius.

It's rare when a young artist arrives on the scene and offers up an incredibly rich and diverse sounding musical statement as Julie Slick has managed to achieve with her first solo record. The music here reveals boundless amounts of grace and maturity that goes well beyond her years. Up until now she may have been known primarily for her shredding bass skills, but with this album it heralds her arrival as a true artist in every sense of the word.

Track Listing
1) Mela
2) Many Laughs
3) February
4) Mora
5) Aphrodite
6) Baron Aloha
7) Nothing To Be Done
8) Choke (featuring Robert Fripp's "Scanning It")
9) Awoke
10) Shadow Trip (featuring Robert Fripp's "Sometimes God Hides")
11) Spice Trade (featuring Robert Fripp's "Sometimes God Hides" & "2006")
12) The Rivalry
13) Cage Match
14) Blood Blisters

Added: July 22nd 2010
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Score:
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 1466
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Slick, Julie: Julie Slick
Posted by Alex Torres, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-07-22 11:58:12
My Score:

Bassist Julie Slick has produced an enjoyable, all-instrumental debut album of punchy, mainly up-tempo, short pieces during which, perhaps not surprisingly, rhythm is the main ingredient of focus.

Slick has a strong pedigree in the progressive rock world. She plays with her brother Eric (who also plays drums on this album) in the Adrian Belew Power Trio and over her career has played with luminaries such as Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Jon Anderson (Yes), Ann Wilson (Heart) and Alice Cooper.

Other than her brother Eric, who plays guitar and keys as well as drums, the guest musicians on her debut album are Brian Davis, Matt Rothstein, Andre Cholmondley, Alex Schmidt and Jordan del Rosario (guitars), Jon Braun (sax), Marco Minneman (drums), Michael Bernier (Chapman Stick) and Pat Mastelotto (drums and production on "Aphrodite"), as well as featuring samples from Robert Fripp tracks on three compositions, as identified in the track listing below.

The over-riding musical prevalence on this eponymously titled debut is for rhythmic pieces, at a good tempo, that would often have the capability of being transformed into dance/club music. There is some development within pieces, but not a great amount; with only "Nothing to be Done" and "Shadow Trip" making it past four minutes. "Mela" is the jazziest of the rhythm dominated compositions; "Mora" the most mantric; elsewhere there are plenty of catchy, foot-tapping, danceable moments, with some thumping bass and Chapman Stick on occasion.

The four exceptions to the "rhythm at pace" rule are "February" (pretty and melodious with some gentle piano sounds from Eric Slick), "Nothing to be Done" (melodious), "spice Trade" (melodious) and the final track "Blood Blisters" (rhythmic, but slower and more wistful).

Overall, whilst the music is always pleasant, I did feel that vocals would have added much to these compositions: the voiceover on "Mora" the only time that the human instrument is used, and not particularly effectively at that. Without the vocals, the compositions sounded somewhat like samples, like work in progress, like a demonstration of capabilities. So, good, not brilliant.




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