Every once in a while, you put on a new disc and as the first notes emanate from your stereo, you say to yourself, “Oh man...I think I’m gonna like this!” Such was my opinion when I had the fortune to listen to Trey Gunn’s latest release, “Music For Pictures”
An ex-member of King Crimson, Trey Gunn has been very prolific since his departure from Mother Crim as evidenced by the 29 tracks contained on this album. The music was written for various multi-media scoring projects between 1998-2006, and vary in length from 1 minute to the closing 20 minute epic song, “The Ghosts Listen”. As you would imagine, due to the nature of the works, the styles vary throughout the disc going through such permutations as rock, new age, heavy metal, orchestral, jazz just to name a few. With such a varied palate of material, one might think there would be some overlap...but there isn’t. This is a fine collection of eclectic styles masterfully performed by Gunn on fretted guitar, fretted and fretless touch guitars, frettless touch bass, and keyboards. He is ably assisted by fellow Crim Pat Mastelotto, Matt Chamberlain, Greg Gilmore, and Phil Petrocelli on drums; and Beth Quist’s voice.
As is the case with most soundtracks, the music is there primarily to evoke a feeling, or sense of time and space. Soundscapes abound throughout, giving rise to feelings of intensity and majesty. There are songs that would feel quite at home on a rock album such as the opening track, “Field Raiders” or “Cigarette In A Cornfield”; as well on a new age album as represented by the ambient “The Ghosts Listen” or the brilliant “Isle Of The Blest”.
While the tracks are short, there is no shortage of ideas or listening pleasure gleamed from them. In fact, you almost wish many of the tracks were longer. Taken as a whole however, “Music For Pictures” tells stories with music and leaves the visuals to your own imagination. It reminds me very much of the terrific “Score” by ex-Tangerine Dream member, Paul Haslinger.
This is a great listen, an album that continually changes with each track. On every song, Gunn proves his mettle as both a composer and a performer. I highly recommend this album to any fan of soundtracks, diversity in music, and of course Trey Gunn’s musical following.
Reviewed by by K. Austin Walsh on August 9th, 2008