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Gavin Harrison & 05Ric: The Man Who Sold Himself

Followers of the extra-curricular activities of the members of Porcupine Tree are used to their musical landscape being stretched and distorted while listening to the numerous styles, genres and ideas which Steven Wilson, Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin and on this occasion, drummer/percussionist Gavin Harrison serve up. With all four using their solo/project time to serve up a huge variety of music, often far removed from the mother-band.

Taking its lyrical cue from the greed of the modern world, which has led to the financial crises which have afflicted most corners of the globe in recent times, the expressively titled The Man Who Sold Himself is the third collaboration between Harrison and bassist "05Ric" and broadly follows the electro-jazz percussion weave work that the previous two releases have. Debuting in 2007 with Drop and following that up with Circles two years later, Harrison has on occasion stated that he produces his most expressive, intricate and varied percussive work when he teams up with 05Ric and with that statement in mind, The Man Who Sold Himself finds the drummer excel in the extreme. Various bells, timbales, chimes and other percussive instruments are brought into the fold to add to the undoubtedly expansive kit thrashing, creating multi-layered beats and percussive themes from which the springing bass work thrums, throbs and generally bounces along. Intricately arranged, yet on the whole sparse in execution, the punctuating synths and guitars are merely included to add a little colour and flavour to the challenging and often off kilter bass sprawl that forms much of the musical side of songs like "The 107", "Own" and "Awake".

For a large part, intriguing and involving, there's also no denying that Harrison and 05Ric are challenging and at times tiring, with no break in the generally gloomy outlook and little variation from the bass thumps and percussive busyness. Bring 05's deep, resonating, but unusual voice into the equation and at times The Man Who Sold Himself can become slightly impenetrable and while always impressive, it doesn't at all times stay on the right side of enjoyable. However taken as an acquired listen that possibly (probably) won't be an album for all moods, TMWSH does bring many rewards, especially if you can devote time and ideally solitude to ensure that you can concentrate on the many, if similar layers.

Continuing to prove that the members of Porcupine Tree provide a collection of work which has possibly the widest and most eclectic outlook that any one band can claim link to, The Man Who Sold Himself is a tough journey that makes you work hard for your rewards. Some will rejoice at the simplistic if convoluted beauty on show, however there's no doubt that others will find the jazzy overtones to be a step too far for them to fully engage with.

Track Listing
1. Prize
2. Identitas
3. The Man Who Sold Himself
4. Own
5. Body Temple
6. 107
7. Wherewithal
8. Awake
9. Water Slips
10. Way

Added: February 9th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Gavin Harrison at Burning Shed Records
Hits: 3163
Language: english

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Gavin Harrison & 05Ric: The Man Who Sold Himself
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