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Ryan, Dylan / Sand: Circa

For this reviewer all instrumental affairs need to meet a few simple, but important criteria to ensure that they stay in a somewhat steady rotation and don't get thrown into the file away forever category. I need a varied listening experience. Give me plenty of light and shade, with lots of different sonic textures and colors, played by musicians with above average technical ability and I'm happy. On Circa, his latest effort for Cuneiform Records, Chicago based musician / drummer, Dylan Ryan gets what I'm talking about with Sand, the sonic expanding trio he is a part of, along with guitarist Timothy Young and bassist Devin Hoff.

You can call it whatever you like, but simply categorizing this eclectic collection as jazz, indie or rock, just seems to fail to do the music the justice it deserves. These compact jams sound tight and yet there is still an air of improvisational looseness that flows naturally throughout. Ryan navigates some through some of the more complex rhythmic patterns rather deftly, as he and Hoff lay down some seriously thick and deep grooves underneath, as Young's angular guitar riffs and percolating leads dominate on the more muscular sounding tracks such as "Trees, Voices, Saturn", "Sledge Tread" and "Raw Rattle". Offsetting that heaviness, the songs "Visionary Fantasy", "Pink Noir" and "Slow Sculpture" rely more on a lighter sonic, textural approach that provides just the right balance. Their interpretation of Keith Jarrett's "Mortgage On My Soul", takes what was originally a wah-wah and sax infused track and completely revamps it into an all-out souped- up rock jam!

From beginning to end Dylan Ryan and crew deliver the goods and then some. If you enjoy jazz with splashes of heavy rock, played by musicians who aren't afraid to take chances, then Circa is going to be right up your alley.

Track Listing
1) Trees, Voices, Saturn
2) Possession
3) Sledge Tread
4) Visionary Fantasy
5) Pink Noir
6) Mortgage On My Soul
7) Slow Sculpture
8) Low Fell
9) Night Sea Journey ) Raw Rattle

Added: January 5th 2015
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Cuneiform Records
Hits: 1823
Language: english

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