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At Night by Theo Bleckmann & Ben Monder

These musicians convey a noticeable sense of friendship and mutual respect during their periodic duo and ensemble based performances. As a follow-up to their 1997 gem titled No Boat, guitarist Ben Monder and vocalist/EFX denizen Theo Bleckmann continue their rather magical sojourn, evidenced here on this wondrously appealing set. And it’s all shaded and firmed-up by drummer/percussionist Satoshi Takeishi’s world-beat rhythms and polyrhythmic timekeeping maneuvers.

For only two musicians, they create an unusually dense musical canvass, sparked by Bleckmann’s multi-octave range and Monder’s diverse bag of tricks. On "Late, By Myself," notions of a dream-state come to fruition via Monder’s swirling acoustic guitar phrasings and Bleckmann’s sanctifying vocalise amid live electronics-drenched backdrops. In various regions of this disc the duo generates a mélange of ethnocentric implications and alien sound sculptures partly due to Bleckmann’s use of voice manipulation technology. And in other spots, Monder renders massive pastiches of sound with blistering single note lines and beefy crunch chords.

The piece titled "Hymenium," signifies a fragile beauty as the vocalist’s humming intonations are effectively counterbalanced by Monder’s airy volume control manipulations. Nonetheless, the musicians inject an abundance of windswept passages into the grand mix. But one of my favorite tracks is their quasi, grunge-rock treatment of The Beatles’ "Norwegian Wood." Here, they impart an uncanny sense of equilibrium to coincide with a few cosmic meltdowns. In sum, this is a very special genre-busting album that looms rather large among the finest recorded documents of 2007. (Zealously recommended.... )

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Theo Bleckmann & Ben Monder
  • CD Title: At Night
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Songlines
  • Rating: Five Stars
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