Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Part of the reason for his low profile is that he – unlike Ribot and Frisell – doesn't appear on other people's albums or even play live that much. Like the classical pianist Glenn Gould, Tibbetts prefers the recording studio and in that he has been very lucky.
This 28-track collection draws from that extensive catalogue and, in a non-chronological selection, bunches together his acoustic and electric work separately.
Tibbetts is impossible to pigeonhole – which has also marginalised him somewhat – and some would certainly hear prog-rock, fusion, avant-garde and minimalism here.
The collection favours his middle years when – for 12 years – he was working for the Buddhist Naropa Institute and traveling to Nepal and Bali, so influences from those musical cultures come through also, notably in the acoustic pieces.
Playing guitars, kalimba, piano, dobro and percussion – with longtime percussionist Marc Anderson and a few guests, notably cellist Michelle Kinney – Tibbetts explores all those genres mentioned, faithfully covers and extends Jimmy Page's Black Mountain Side (with tabla and synths) and his distinctive tuning allows for subtle drones in his Eastern-influenced pieces.
The double album opens with the more challenging sonics and soundscapes of his electric work which sometimes sounds like sheetmetal grinding before melodies emerge. There's often a dark, cinematic quality to the electric pieces (Burning Temple, Roam And Spy) and few would say this is easy music. Uneasy is a better description.
But here is an overview-cum-introduction to a guitarist who redefines the language of his instruments and sometimes just goes further elsewhere.
Hence we place him in our Further Outwhere pages.
You can hear this album at Spotify here