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Eric Revis

Slipknots Through A Looking Glass

Review by Gary Hill

Eric Revis is the bass player on this disc. That's important to note because the bass is prominent here. It's also particularly well played. The thing is, the music isn't built around the bass in any way. This music is jazz, but it leans heavily toward both fusion and Rock in Opposition. This instrumental set is impressive and classy.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Baby Renfro
I love the bass groove that starts this thing. The cut works through with the rhythm section driving it for a time. The horns join, and the piece makes its way through some decidedly fusion-based stylings. This is a real powerhouse number that has a lot of shifts and changes. This gets rather freeform, yet somehow maintains some elements that are constant. It has a lot of Rock In Opposition like things at play. It also makes me think of a more pure jazz version of something Bruford Levin Upper Extremities might have done.
SpÆ
Bass starts this number, as well. The cut works forward with some subtle, but intriguing bass lines. Tuned percussion and some hints of piano join after a while. The arrangement builds with those things on display. It drifts toward world music as more percussion dominates later. That sort of concept holds it through to the end.
Earl & The Three-Fifths Compromise
More traditional jazz is on the menu here along with plenty of fusion and more. This has a cool energy and vibe on display. This turns into a powerhouse piece via some incendiary jamming that emerges further down the musical road. It drops back a bit in intensity later as it works to a mellower, but no less effective melody.
Slipknots Through A Looking Glass, Part 1
A bass solo starts this. It remains the primary element as noisy atmospherics are heard overhead.
Shutter
This comes in with a fierce intensity and driving groove. It's a powerful jam that has elements of Rock in Opposition built into it. Some of the saxophone work on this makes me think of Nik Turner to a large degree. This is a crazed and cool number. It is also a real screamer.
ProByte
Starting gently and rather tentatively, this rises upward as it approaches the one-minute mark. The cut works outward slowly with a real pure jazz basis. They take this into some killer jamming that leans more on the fusion side of things as it evolves.
Slipknots Through A Looking Glass, Part 2
As you might guess, this seems to take up where the earlier installment left off. It has more of the noisy atmospherics over the top of bass soloing.
House Of Leaves
There is some killer bass work on the rather sparse arrangement at the start of this. As the number grows outward it has a real freeform RIO sound and composition. Lines seem to emerge only to work through and drop away. The number seems to be in a near constant state of flux and re-invention. After shifting to a mellower mode for a while, the cut gets into some more cohesive jamming with some killer jazz stylings at the core. It's one of my favorite musical passages of the whole set, really.
When I Become Nothing
I dig the melodic groove of this number. It has a bit more of a traditional jazz element at play.
Vimen
The bass work on the whole album is exceptional, but as the rhythm section brings this one into being, it really shines. This is a crazed powerhouse kind of arrangement as it fills out and works forward. That RIO thing is definitely on display here. It become cacophonous and intense as it grows. There is a real experimental vibe to it. This epic is over 11-and-a-half minutes long and is particularly powerful.
Slipknots Through A Looking Glass, Part 3
This final segment of the piece that's serialized throughout the album, this one gets even more involved with multiple lines of bass playing.
 
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