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Trey Gunn

Marco Minnemann – Modulator

Review by Gary Hill

This is an intriguing disc – both in concept and delivery. Marco Minnemann recorded a massive drum solo several years ago. Every track on this album was created by recording over that one drum solo. The result is an instrumental set that is interesting. It never seems to drag or feel redundant, and when you consider instrumental music, that’s impressive.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review

There’s a delicate nature to this piece, yet it’s also quite hard edged at points. The timing seems oddly fluid here and there. It has a good dynamic range, dropping down to ambient textures and also conveying more complete arrangements. There is some cool soloing in a more fiery jam later.

Although in some ways not dramatically different than the previous cut, this feels more organic in other ways. There is an almost mysterious and dark beauty to it. There’s a killer rubbery section that carries this into the previous piece.
Spray I
A lot more noisy, there is an electronic element to this cut not heard in the previous numbers (at least not to this degree). This leans towards RIO, but not in terms of dissonance or jarring sounds. It moves to more purely melodic territory late. 
Fall Time +/-
This is more textural at times. Yet, it also includes some of the crunchiest music we’ve heard so far. That sets up a great contrast. 
Fall Time -/+
Continuing themes from the previous one, this is a much more lushly arranged piece. It’s powerful and one of the coolest things on the set. 
Coming from the previous piece, this is more melodic and rather pretty. There are definite similarities to King Crimson music. It is a slow moving cut. 
Less than a minute long, there is a world music texture to this. It’s fast paced and intricate. 
Another that’s less than a minute long, this is more textural and delicate. 
Rising from the previous piece, this has a more jazz meets classical music element to it. It is powerful and seems to bring back a few of the musical themes from “Switch.”
This enters with sharp bits of sound scattering here and there. It’s very RIO like, but also more pure fusion. It works out to more rubbery, bass-like sounds later. 
Up Spin
There’s an upbeat pattern to this and the cut does feel quite a bit like something from modern King Crimson. 
Down Spin
The bass end of the stick really drives this one. It’s another that’s rather rubbery. It’s also very cool. 
Coming in noisy, this feels very much like a jazz-oriented RIO treatment. It is quite free form and seemingly random. 
This seems to carry a lot of the last number with it, but in a more rhythmic way. It’s kind of cool. There’s even some funk on display.
Another cut that’s less than a minute in length, this is rather playful. It’s also quite electronic. 
Spray II
Fiery and very crunchy, this is a real screamer. It turns out to mellower territory later. 
Coming out of the last cut, there is an ultra heavy rubbery riff that drives this. Tangerine Dream like textures move across the top of that. It has some interesting variations. 
There’s almost an old surf music vibe to this. I like it a lot. It’s another of my favorites on show. This is just plain cool.
This is a gentle and quite pretty exploration. It’s space rock meets ambience in many ways. There seems to be a bit of an Asian flair to some of it. 
There’s a killer hard rock groove to this piece. It’s a strong number that is one of the more instantly accessible ones on the set. It wanders toward heavy metal territory at times. 
Twisted Pair
Starting ambient, noisy guitar type sounds rise up like some creature roaring. This works through in a random RIO-like process from there. We’re taken into some serious Crimson-like territory later.
This is very gentle and pretty and has a bit of an Asian leaning to it. It works out into more rock like territory further down the road.
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