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Dylan Ryan Sand: Sky Bleached

Sky Bleached is the debut CD from drummer Dylan Ryan and his jazz trio Sand, which also features guitarist Tim Young and bassist Devin Hoff, both of whom have recorded and toured with many popular artists. Those who know Ryan through his prog-jazz sextet Herculaneum should be prepared for an entirely different beast here, as Sand are described by Ryan as such; "I had the idea to write songs for a jazz band that had elements of Black Sabbath, the Cure, Jaco-era Joni Mitchell, and free jazz. I intentionally made the free playing and the composed sections less compartmentalized. The idea is to have a really great sounding rhythm section that can stretch out and make music spontaneously, and naturally together. Sand is a jazz band, but it reflects the different things I grew up on and listen to; It reflects the fact that I am playing jazz, but that I wasn't born in 1945." It's an interesting statement, and after listening to Sky Bleached you can totally see where he is coming from. This isn't traditional jazz, nor is it jazz fusion or smooth jazz. You've got a little bit of avant-garde menace to the trios playing, and there's an underpinning of bleak post rock that I detect from time to time, but the best thing I can say is that these guys are onto something original here, and it's quite enjoyable.

Young is one of the main reasons for why this band has such a unique sound. His phrasing, tones, and textures at times sound anything but jazz, as his Robert Fripp-meets-Terje Rypdal-meets-Bill Frisell-meets-Tony Iommi style colors these stark, ominous pieces and drives them to whatever direction Ryan & Hoff take them to. "Psychic Journey" is a perfect example of how well these three work together, with Young's dissonant, meaty chords starting off doom laden before picking up the pace to keep up with the ever increasing velocity of Ryan's drum work and Hoff's rumbling bass lines. "Mayan Sun" is like a wild meeting of Jimi Hendrix and the rhythm section of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, as distorted guitar shards and furious rhythms create a dangerous alliance, while "White Magic" reminds of classic Rypdal or Frisell thanks to some frantic, whammy bar theatrics courtesy of Young. One of the most beautiful tracks here on Sky Bleached is "Time Stalkers", as alluring rhythms underpin some fantastic tonal colors from Young, the three players reaching for the heavens and creating something truly 'otherworldly'. The menacing, ominous "Dreamspell" sees Young & Hoff creating some frightening sounds, which again, takes this further from anything that can be labeled jazz, and into fully uncharted waters.

Dark jazz metal? Don't know if there is such a term but that's a good way to describe some of what's going on here. These three musicians have created some bleak, menacing, and at times heavy sounds on Sky Bleached, and I for one will be more than ready to hear more when they are ready to unleash their next round upon us. Highly recommended!

Track Listing
1. White Nights 04:20
2. Barocco 06:12
3. Psychic Journey 05:50
4. Mayan Sun 02:34
5. White Magic 02:26
6. Soft Rain On A Dead Sea 04:20
7. Time Stalkers 06:50
8. Translucent Spheres 05:03
9. Dreamspell 05:07
10. Sky Bleached 03:28

Added: September 8th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band @ Cuneiform Records Bandcamp
Hits: 2059
Language: english

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