1. Work In Progress 1 Project X 24:51
  2. After This Project X 4:59
  3. A Few Minor Details (2) Project X 16:48
  4. A Few Minor Details (2fx) Project X 16:48
  5. A Few Minor Details Project X 10:32
  6. A Few More Minor Details Project X 6:19
  7. Deluxe Project X 5:05
  8. Work In Progress 2 Project X 10:37

Project X: A Work in Progress [12/09/2007]

Cover Art: “On the Beach,” Joe Love, Mixed media and collage, 1991

John-Guitar Ensemble
Joe-Bass
Tim-Drums

Like a true work in progress the trio, playing together for the first time in seven or eight years, begins with a mellow bouillabaisse of both tentative and vociferous bytes of sound. John’s confident organic chord blast opens up the path to any joining-in of work. He then adds live overdubs to his guitar entourage of played-backward organ fills, interstellar keyboards and distorted guitar. Tim’s mellifluous drum fills provide the canvas upon which the work can expand horizontally as well as vertically. In the deep foreground Joe feels his way toward a bass line that eventually helps the work take a more formative structure and build toward a work that flows ever increasingly toward its fulfillment: progress. The literal mark of the progression is heard in John’s journey as lead painter: “Every five minutes,” as Tim pointed out in the “listening room,” John creates a new media which takes the work to a new level, a new height. He begins, as we said, in a keyboard mode that opens several doors at once. After this movement, he turns more toward a cubist-blues lead that plays off the reversed keyboard base he has set in place. Here the work becomes quieter, lounging about upon the steppes of the piece that Joe has created with the slow journey from plateau to depths, over and over. In the third movement, John plays a synth-sax turning the tune toward its higher level. The canvas is all blocked in. It’s now time to add the colorful details. Tim’s snare becomes a focal point for the intersections of sound. Joes’ bass has more of a definite purpose, a laid back funk that John rides out like a champion sound surfer upon the wave of Tim?s sure-handed drumming. Toward the final movement John and Joe each venture up a note or two out of the chord they have adopted for this work, this first work in many years, a progress away from the twentieth rock and pop of the past and toward the twenty-first century avant-garde jazz that lies in wait ahead of them.

After This
John-Guitar Ensemble
Joe-Keyboards
Tom-Bass
Tim-Drums

Now that some progress has been established away from the old, the new enters with a vengeance. “After This” adds Tom Lakey to the bass role, a much more experienced and varied bass player than Joe. Joe then steps over to the keyboards for splashes of sound, the shore and falling stars. John’s guitar synth blends almost seamlessly with Joe’s textures so that the two “keyboard” sounds become appropriately indistinguishable. Tim creates a wonderful structure to the madness with his quick 1-2-3 bass drum answering the call of the wild. One envisions the gods blatantly upset with Aphrodite, for having seduced another human, and contemplating her punishment. Tom blends seamlessly; Charlie Haden fifty years after an Ornette Coleman session.

A Few Minor Details
John-Guitar Ensemble
Joe-Keyboards, Drum Machine
Tom-Bass

A mellowing out of the previous work, John has introduced a live loop that resembles an agitated mob quietly whispering plans in front of the object of their desecration, while the ranging of his keyboards suggests the object’s utterly oblivious attention to his imminent danger. This song features Joe’s programmed drumming. Tim decided to take out his drums that had accompanied the programmed section and let the trio handle the details until the syncopation stops toward the end; he then adds his own blend of cymbals to pull the bass and guitar into a safe landing. John’s guitar take on a new powerful presence here, like a looping symphony that carries this piece far out to sea.

A Few More Minor Details
John-Guitar Ensemble
Joe-Keyboards
Tom-Bass
Tim-Drums

A jazz spelunker’s delight. Here the quartet takes the listener straight down into the heart of the void, that abyss between sound and understanding, between possibility and creation, between stillness and motion. If the “few minor details” set them out to sea, ‘a few more” takes them deep into the bowels of the mystery and majesty of what’s possible beneath the surface of reality.

Deluxe
John-Guitar Ensemble
Joe-Bass
Tom-Bass
Tim-Drums

Deluxe begins with John’s orchestrated synth draping a classical veil over the quartet, a veil that soon succumbs to the noir-like mysteries of bent sounds and high octave echoes of a corner of the universe where an ancient star hangs disintegrating, breathing its last profound breaths of cosmic oxygen. A beautiful, quiet, reflective piece.

Work in Progress II
John-Guitar Ensemble
Joe-Bass
Tom-Bass
Tim-Drums

The progress here is first of all in numbers, the first “Work” was a trio, here Tom adds a fourth. Without Joe’s fairly structured bass line from the first work, this piece has much more of a chance to grow in exponential ways. Work II is a substantial contrast to really everything else on the album. Tim’s drumming sets a more African, primitive pace with the circular toms in rapid succession while Joe echoes and illuminates on the percussive keyboard, hitting the sharps like a xylophone and the drum keys in time to Tim’s acoustic tour-de-force. John sticks more closely to a distorted fast and frantic lead solo than in any other song and at times approaches a Zappa-like mantra of spectral sound. Joe’s best keyboard work. Tim’s most energetically sustained drumming. Tom quietly fills in all the holes.