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Ryan, Jim: Jim Ryan's Subjects of Desire

I have listened to some truly bizarre music these past few weeks and this is another strange release that has come across my desk. This album might be the strangest of all and in this case, it does not necessarily mean a good thing.

Jim Ryan was born in St. Paul, Minnesota where he earned a degree in philosophy. In the late 1950s Ryan moved to Europe where he became involved with the beat poet gatherings and free jazz concerts of the time. In the late 1960s Ryan took up the saxophone which lead to his discovery of the world of jazz. In 1975 Ryan formed the Free Music Formation and fast forwarding to 1997, he formed his own group entitled Forward Energy. Ryan currently has three albums to his credit with Jim Ryan's Subject of Desire being his latest.

His latest disc clearly delves deeply into obscure avant-garde/noise territory. Being a philosopher, Ryan has set spoken word poetry to weird percussion sounds and strange effects. Apparently this is a concept piece dealing with people's feelings of desire. The concept would have been easier to follow if lyrics would have been included with the promo. The storyline line is pretty confusing and, with different characters involved, it is somewhat difficult to follow. Some of the spoken word stuff is pretty 'out there' and I found it pretty jumbled and convoluted. There is very little melody in the music, as it consists mostly of weird sound effects and dissonant saxophone, which is another reason I felt investing time and effort into sorting through the concept to be overwhelming. After all, if you don't like the music, what is the point? I consider all seven tracks to be pretty similar, including the thirty-one minute epic, which is unfortunate.

Overall, this is a disc that I cannot recommend. If you listen to it for the concept, and are prepared to make sense out of the story, you may get something out of this, or if you like music with a complete lack of structure it might suit your needs. For me, this album does not make the grade, as it does not have enough substance and melody to warrant future listens. Sorry…

Track Listing:
1. Alien Chemical Jam (2:27)
2. We Fell (3:29)
3. For Miko (3:30)
4. On the Plain of Pure Being (31:09)
5. Thinking of You (2:57)
6. Six Days (8:47)
7. We Good People (7:23)

Added: March 19th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Record Label's Website
Hits: 2069
Language: english

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