Jon Durant: Brief Light (Alchemy Records) This is a fairly interesting CD by guitarist Jon Durant and several guests (most notably, Tony Levin) playing what could be described as ambient tribal music and sometimes just ambient music. The music reminds me a lot of a more laid-back Brian Eno circa Another Green World, both in composition and Durant's use of distinct guitar textures called "cloud guitar" and "filter guitar." Some of the ambient tribal-type moments of 80's Crimson are a good reference point, too. In addition to Levin, Durant fleshes out the sound with Vinny Sabatino (percussion), Michael Whalen (keyboards), and Randy Roos (guitar synthesis), who are all equally able musicians. However, the real star of the CD is Durant's compositional ability. He has a knack for creating a subdued but interesting layers of sound over a hypnotic rhythm. So, unsurprisingly, the music seems to be at its best when it's propelled along by a rhythmic ostinato such as the gongs in "River" or the mallet percussion in "Persimmon." On the other hand, the music seems to slightly falter without this underlying base ("Rosemary" almost approaches easy-listening material), but fortunately these missteps are few. The standout track is probably the 10-minute "Behind Stone Walls," which features a Crimson-like, multi-guitar ostinato that propels the piece through all of its kaleidoscopic variations. The title track is also quite mesmerizing, but on a smaller scale. In short, "Brief Light" is a very good CD of hypnotic, well-done music. I would recommend it to all parties interested in the sound. ~Jon Dharma Murphree~, EER-MUSIC.com
Jon Durant: Silent Extinction Beyond The Zero (CD, 54:00); Alchemy ALCD 1012, 1997 Alchemy Records 61 Surrey Dr. Cohasset, MA, 02025 USA Ph: 800-292-6932 or (781) 383-0086 Email: email@example.com Cyberhome: http://www.alchemyrecords.com Cool, very cool. If you like David Torn, Michael Brook, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Eno, Steve Tibbetts, Steve Hackett each at their infinite guitar, textural guitar, "cloud guitar", guitar soundscaping, reverby, echo delay, loops, sustainesque best . . . then Jon Durant is for you. I immediately got into this CD. The nine tracks are atmospheric, upbeat Levin/Manring jazzy, Torn funky, Brook spaced and Eno visioned masterpieces. This is the BEST collection of this type of guitar work I have ever heard. I have stuff by all the aforementioned artists but now I have found a guitarist in this vein that is never overdone, not caustic nor vapid, not repetitive nor too "out there". This album is just done so -- so very well. Call it a Windham Hill or ECM feel to it or that Mark Isham sensitivity as in his Vapor Drawings -- I can't quite coin the phrase but the gestalt, the ambience, is warm but stainless steel sheen. My favorite fusion-edged, "Dance of Maya"-like song is "Danger Boy" which rocks and screams endlessly down the twisted, tortured corridors of Durant's mind. He can do a whole album of jams like this. His playing is solid, ripping, sailing through, bizarre scales and then floating off on quicksilver seas only to come back like hornets on a mission of no mercy. Oh just buy this gem!! I need say no more. Tony Levin on bass and stick, Vinny Sabatino on drums and percussives, with Harrison Durant on vocal assertion guest here and there on mainly a one-man offering that will stand the test of time. Thanks Jon for jumping into the fray. Extreme, high recommendations on this one! -- John W. Patterson
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Jon Durant: Three If By Air (CD, 44:23); Alchemy ALCD 1005, 1994 Alchemy Records 61 Surrey Dr. Cohasset, MA, 02025 USA Ph: 800-292-6932 or (781) 383-0086 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cyberhome: http://www.alchemyrecords.com This entire project is Jon Durant; writing, arranging, and performing seven intriguing and innovative guitar pieces. This is not your typical shred or blazing riff guitar album. It is Durant in the David Torn/ Michael Brook/ Robert Frippian/ Adrian Belew-ic/ Andy Summers-ish vein of Eno-esque-scapes of rhythmic and infinite processed guitar modes. Enough people encouraged Jon to record his own music after hearing his expertise at demonstrating a myriad of high tech toys at major music conventions. Well, he did, and in this release he has accomplished a skillful set of works. I have already mentioned some guitarists Durant emulates quite well but he cites others as inspiration such as: Frisell, Rypdal, Tibbetts, Holdsworth, Hackett, the Sterns and Krantz. If none of these rings a bell in your ear you might just as well start your musical education right here with Durant and trace his "roots" later. He uses a bevy of processors, synths, and such to push his custom Paul Reed Smith to its outer limits. There is a soulful introspection in all these pieces held together with poise. Each composition betrays the presence of a restrained dynamo of speed and power. Durant keeps the fire under control throughout, refraining from flash but choosing style and a storytelling in his careful phrasings. He likes his sustained notes and crystalline tone to rule. You don't find anemic new agey meanderings here but polyrhythmic trips within and around melodies and subtle patterns of sound. It is a lively yet calming place Durant takes you. Only on "Alien Communication Technique" does Durant's truly out-there side show through. It is a delightfully subdued yet strange place he reveals. This was my favorite piece for its novelty and its imagination. It is on this cut we see a foreshadowing of great things to come from Durant. ~ John W. Patterson
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Jon Durant: Anatomy of a Wish (CD, 48:24); Alchemy ALCD 1017, 1999 Alchemy Records 61 Surrey Dr. Cohasset, MA, 02025 USA Ph: 800-292-6932 or (781) 383-0086 Email: email@example.com Cyberhome: http://www.alchemyrecords.com Anatomy of a Wish continues the fine discography Jon Durant has been offering us lately of otherwordly guitar textures and haunting dreamscapes. Durant's slick guitar wizardry and multifaceted effects are the backgrounds for trance and inner worlds-shifting -- each piece being alive with deep imagination and undisputed creative vision. Durant is guitar, cloud guitars, and his usual array of amazing sonic manipulations. He is firmly established now, in this reviewer’s opinion, as one of the reigning masters of what I herein shall define as “infinitely manipulated atmospheric guitar effects” or the “IMAGE” sound. Again we hear the excellent bass playing of Tony Levin on bass, Stick, and electric upright bass. Michael Manring guests on bass on one song. Multi-timbred, rhythm master, Vinny Sabatino defines and pushes along the delightfully amorphous guitar creations of Durant. I guess I need to say this once again . . . David Torn, Michael Brook, Terje Rypdal fans, this Durant guy is sounding to my ears like he is going to soon eclipse these fine artists with his continuing excellence. Durant’s IMAGE is flawless and is a now a standard to be defined by. Nine tracks of brilliance and vision offer trips lasting anywhere from 1:49 and on up to 12:43, so come on and join us in Durantzone. The title track is superb and I hope someday soon Durant will fill a 73:00 CD full of such wonders as “Anatomy of a Wish”. This is another winner for Durant and crew. Very highly recommended ~ John W. Patterson
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