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Stick Men +: Midori

Stick Men formed in 2007. The original lineup included King crimson members Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto as well as Michael Bernier, also on Stick. In 2010 Bernier left the band and was replaced by Markus Reuter who also has a number of solo albums to his credit. On April 10, 2015 the band played a series of concerts in Tokyo, Japan. Two of these concerts were recorded and form the two CD set titled Midori. Joining the threesome is King Crimson alumni David Cross adding his unmistakable violin textures.

Midori is a fabulous live album that has the band exploring a bit of Crimson as well as delving into sculptured soundscapes and improvisational pieces. All four members are integral to the band's powerful sound. Levin's deeply fuzzed bottom end and Mastelotto's always interesting stick work form an intense rhythm section. Reuter adds electronic soundscapes and moody touch guitars that vary from intense shards of discord to more melodic and fluidic voicings. "Gaudy" begins the set with a moody droning soundscape that becomes more intense as the music flows. It's a very abstract piece ably demonstrating the quartet's imaginative use of sounds. The improvised "Blacklight" is a groove heavy piece featuring Reuter's excellent touch guitar while "Moth" again has the band in improvised mode with its heavily fuzzed bottom end and wicked percussive effects. One of the highlights has to be the immersive "Shades of Starless", appearing on both discs and offering gorgeous guitar and violin as the tune builds ever so slowly eventually seeping into your consciousness. Other high points include the growling bass and guitar work in the heavy Arabian influenced "Sartori in Tangier" and the equally intense "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2".

Midori reveals what a great band Stick Men is. Moody textures and furious playing equal a fabulous listen for anyone who appreciates the eclectic side of progressive rock. A highly recommended release from Moonjune Recordings.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing:
Disk One
1. Opening Soundscape Gaudy (10:36)
2. Improv Blacklight (7:14)
3. Hide the Trees (8:54)
4. Improv Moth (9:07)
5. Industry (12:35)
6. Cusp (4:48)
7. Shades of Starless (8:07)
8. The Talking Drum (4:52)
9. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2 (6:30)
Disk Two
1. Opening Soundscape Cyan (5:20)
2. Improv: Midori (7:07)
3. Breathless (4:16)
4. Improv: Moon (4:42)
5. Sartori in Tangier (6:51)
6. Crack in the Sky (5:37)
7. Shades of Starless (7:18)
8. Firebird Suite (10:49)
9. The Talking Drum (5:52)
10. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2 (6:48)

Added: October 4th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Bandcamp Page
Hits: 1853
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Stick Men +: Midori
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-10-04 07:17:03
My Score:

Recorded live in Tokyo, Japan on April 10th, 2015, Midori features the formidable Stick Men with the addition of special guest & former King Crimson member David Cross on violin and keyboards. Cross joins Tony Levin (Stick), Pat Mastelotto (drums/percussion), and Markus Reuter (Touch Guitars/keyboards) to form quite the formidable four piece, as the ensemble plays a selection of King Crimson classics as well as improvised pieces and soundscapes. Broken down into 2 long sets, Midori is comprised of 9 tracks in the first set, and 10 in the second, with the only duplications being "Shades of Starless", "The Talking Drum", and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2". Cross' majestic, yearning violin permeates the former, as his presence brings a feeling of melancholy and sadness, while Levin's rumbling bass line sits underneath the violinist's wispy flights on the always engaging "The Talking Drum". Reuter does a fantastic job throughout both sets creating vast soundscapes as well as savage hard rock muscle with his array of Touch Guitars, in most cases reminding of the Robert Fripp's work on the original Crimson recordings. The many improvisations included here are fascinating examples of daring, adventurous prog-rock with a touch of avant-garde, Levin & Mastelotto completely locked in while Reuter and Cross weave and twist around the loose arrangements.

Midori is ultimately highly entertaining and equally daring instrumental progressive rock, and one of 2016's must hear live recordings.



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