(All Album Reviews by shadow)
Tag Team shredders T.J. Helmerich and Brett Garsed have been frying tandem fretboards in some aggregation or another on and off for nearly twenty years now, with nary a flagging for new inspiration. Ably assisted by Dennis Chambers on drums, Scott Kinsey (keys), and Tribal Tech’s Gary Willis on bass, the Ranch whip up a batch of complex instrumental fusion, sporting a glint of metal to authenticate their roots.
Perpetually shifting textures and orchestrations is the key to success for UMSR. As has been indicated on these formats, the Ranch like to apply wide brushstrokes of techno to their palate, but I myself couldn’t find fault with this decision, insofar as it, as well as everything else seemingly non-sequitor about this production, is integrated well enough into the compositional fabric to make musical sense. Some of this reminds me of what Dana Rasch was doing a while back when he, Brett, and T.J. were with Mike Varney’s shrapnel label.
Moe’s Town unique fusion blend goes from clean to obscene with Holdsworthian legato cascades, blistering metal, lush chromatic comping, and lotsa solos from Willis, Kinsey, and Chambers. Ric Fierabracci (the killer bassist from the Yanni: Live at the Acropolis DVD) thumps bass on “Inspired Weak” and “Path to Aethesis” (the latter containing some strange, lost vocal/ sampling from Djeml Chergui), and Planet X pummeler Virgil Donati bashes his signature sub-divided rhythmic cyclone in a guitar ‘n’ drums thang aptly titled “Nitro Squirrel (multiple moe)”.
All in all, Moe’s Town is a record that, in terms of real depth, teeters on the abyss, yet never yields to that Faustian urge to go for the plunge. Still, a very interesting record, and in my top five fusion releases so far for ’07.—Proglydite’s Child