Sunday, March 05, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: The Men From San Diego - Do You Know The Way To San Diego

Artist: The Men From San Diego
Title: Do You Know The Way To San Diego

OK, strap yourselves in, prepare for some fodder that requires a stronger stomach than most and let's take a walk down San Deigo way courtesy of two well known oddballs. Take a bow Thomas J and Richard Dunlap, prime movers and shakers of TMFSD and dadala respectively. Yeah, NOW you feel those gossebumps right? Although his sax playing is central to this track it is much more Richard Dunlap in feel. It is, as the label states, Jazz Fusion although what its fused with is best left to conjecture. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I LIKE Thomas when he's on his horn - if you know what I mean. On Do You Know The Way To San Diego, this attribute is given full rein and I find it very enjoyable indeed.

Do stop feeling if I am feverish, will you? I'm trying to be serious... (Riiiiggghhhhtttt....)

I know that I don't normally get all gushy about the more difficult stuff but this IS good enough to please even nitpickers like me. It helps enormously that I like Richard Dunlap's whole approach to the 'noise is useful' school of random chord theory, or at least what SOUND like random chords. The musical accompaniment is composed of spheres, sweeps and flourishes of sound - mostly electronic although I think I can hear a guitar sawing away in there too. Obviously then, it would be totally redundant to wonder what happened to the kick drum because there ain't a beat in sight, unless you are looking at it from a Chinese scale angle (or even Double Dutch come to that...) In other words, whatever randomness you perceive as happening in this track is there for a purpose - and that to me makes all the difference. The whole provides the very best base for the overridding sax and it's tonal oddities.

Dionne Warwick, this is not, OK?

Now maybe I'm gonna have some bearded saxophonist stalking me (well, they ARE all beardy's aren't they? ;P ) but I think what Thomas does with a sax is soooo him. Where he scores most with me isn't so much what he plays, as the sound he makes playing it. There's a very satisfying feel to those low end sax notes and Thomas brings his lazy bastard approach to the job and provides a definite counterpoint to a relatively laid back arrangement, providing the slow as death feel this whole track is soaked with. It's that very laziness that won me over initially, along with the aforementioned sax tones. The only way to go slower than this in music is to be dead. Sooooo, it'll be one of those tracks you should probably reserve for those quieter, more reflective moments that undoubtedly pepper your day, and make sure you have plenty of mind refreshment to hand. If you give it that careful treatment, you may well end up liking this as much as I do. Not because it does anything that clever musically; it just relaxes me and brings a little peace along the way.

Different, yes, but still Highly Recommended.

1 comment:

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