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Review of Trey Gunn's "1000 Years"

Date Submitted: 13-Dec-93
Submitted By: Ray Ashley (rayash at delphi dot com)

Subject: Review of "1,000 Years"

I just got my copy of _1,000 Years_, the new CD by Stick artist Trey Gunn, now out on Discipline records.

For starters, this album has all the accoutrements of a big-budget CD release, the fancy Bill Smith graphics, the professional production, a record label that a famous guitarist records on, etc., but I don't know if this is available in any store. NO WORRIES! If you send $14.99 + 15% p&h to:

Possible Productions
351 Magnolia Ave,
Long Beach, CA 90802

They'll rush you a copy in a week (that's how long I had to wait, and I live in New Jersey). International orders add $5 I AM NOT GETTING PAID TO MAKE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT, I AM ONLY SAYING IT BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THAT THIS CAN BE FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE!

Anyway, the album...

It is rather good. It is out of the ordinary for a Stick album. It doesn't abound with the characteristic Stick sounds we're all used to, it sounds like a guitar & bass record, drenched with TONS of high-end fx. I don't know how much overtracking Mr. Gunn did here, but all of the sounds except vocals and percussion emanated from his touchboard.

Other musicians on the record were Bob Muller and Pat Mastrelotto, drums, and Xan and Serpentine, voice.

As lead singer, Trey is not going to win any Grammys, but he has an decent "alternative rock" type baritone.

Listening to Trey's melodic style, it is immediately apparent that he is one of the hard core Crafties (level IX or something) and has spent a lot of time in Fripp's shadow. Just listen to the solo at the beginning of "The Screen Door and the Flower Girl" and you'd think uncle Bob was the one laying down the ultra distorted- compressed fretwork. "Into the Wood" features a repeating figure that sounds like vintage reel to reel tape deck delay - and "1,000 Years" is pure ambient Frippertronix.

His bass lines are, to say the least, heavy and repetitive. "Killing for London" has a "Darshan" like feel to it, sort of post- post modern. Some songs don't have any real "bass line". Mr. Gunn has stated that he treats the stick as a total instrument unto itself. That feeling is present here, as he doesn't always force his touchboard into conventional guitar/bass roles.

The album grew on me after three or four listenings.

In summary, this won't go down in the history books with "TV Weather" or "Parallel Galaxy" as one of the all time great Stick albums, but it does stand as a bold document of one man's quest to create sounds never before heard from a Chapman Stick. It will be interesting to see him live to see how much of this he can pull off at once, solo.

Ray Ashley

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