I'm a huge fan of other textural guitarists like Bill Frisell, Robert Fripp, Terje Rypdal, Andy Summers, Ben Monder, Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie, and David Torn. It was only a matter of time before I started to get into the work of this textural guitar genius. Having said that, "Safe Journey" is a remarkable album that only gets better with repeated listenings.
"Safe Journey" is the precursor to his most aggressive album "Exploded View," but has more of the atmosphere of the album "Northern Song," which was released prior to "Safe Journey." This album goes through so many beautiful moods and textures, it's just amazing to sit back and think what went on in the studio while he was recording it. It has everything that's great about a Steve Tibbetts album on it. It has the beautifully lush chordal work from his 12-string acoustic and 6-string electric guitars, looped rhythmic patterns, soaring distorted phrases, reverb/delay drenched feedback, volume swelled synth chordal backdrops, and top notch percussion.
It obviously has all of the trademarks of a Tibbetts album, but there's something really special going on with this album. It has this underlying dark beauty. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what makes this album standout from the rest, but to these ears he's taken everything he's best at and rolled them into one album. The result is some haunting, brooding, melodic, and surprisingly accessible music.
I think it's very hard to review music of this kind for the simple fact that it can garner so many views and invoke so many different moods. No matter what your temperment may be, you'll enjoy the feeling you get from this album. All of the compositions are beautiful examples what a musician can do with a very simple lineup of instruments.
In response to the negative reviews, I've got one thing to say: are you crazy? One person mentioned this music isn't as good as Michael Brook's, Brian Eno's, etc. The sad thing about that statement is that Steve Tibbetts isn't any of these musicians he mentioned, he's Steve Tibbetts and he shouldn't be classified in the same league as anybody. Nobody makes music like Steve Tibbetts. I can actually say that with confidence. You can hear echoes of alot of different kinds of music in his compositions. Everything from Steve Reich influenced rhythmic loops to the tribal music of Africa to folk to jazz and rock. That is what is great about his music. It can incorporate virtually everything into it.
I think if you are a fan of textural music, then you should really try and obtain a copy of this beautiful album. You will not be sorry.