on 3 October 2004
I read a review that said The Electric Dr. M was similar to Herbie Hancock's 1973 album Sextant. Another claimed it was similar to what Miles Davis was doing at that time. I don't think that is really the case. Sextant to me always sounded like the Forbidden Planet soundtrack mixed with some jazz and funk. Sextant is a great album, but it is of its era. The Mwandishi band was basically a jazz combo (i.e., trombone, sax, trumpet, drums, bass and keyboards/synthesisers) that played a sort of '70s avant-garde funk.
The Electric Dr. M seems to be clearly of its time, and to be honest as an old jazz fan I am not sure what to make of it. I am not sure it is jazz. The band plays keyboards, guitar, bass and drums. It is challenging, adventurous music and worth a listen. It has some similarities to what Medeski, Martin and Wood are doing but seems to have more substance.
on 2 October 2003
The blurb that comes with the promo, talks about "improvised" music and the "flatulence" of EST's music. "Improvised music" normally fills me with dread. While Keith Jarrett can be reasonably assessible, much improv can be a pain in the ears. More often atonal and tuneless to this man on the street, seemingly the reserve of the artist and his/her friends. So with some trepidation and whilst in the mood to try this album, it went on my CD player. Hey I like it: it was played right through and went on again!
To some extent the starting points here appear parallel EST, i.e. with the keyboards/drum/double bass - the drummer using modern dance rhythms as well some of the older jazz funk rhythm. In deed, at a couple of points, when I let my mind relax and drift, I could have sworn I had a Herbie Hancock album playing. I too wonder whether I should have listened more to the experimental electronic artists, such as the Aphex Twin (I guess)- are there references here too?
Bourne is a young man with a host of hot ideas and strong opinions - but in their defence, isn't EST music different, typically about extending a theme and building tension - IMHO not long-windedness, so not flatulent? Bourne is clearly impatient to spill his ideas, laying down as many as possible here - this means sudden angular changes of directions within tunes/between tracks. But the music is assessible - I foresee dance djs sampling segments - but there are few obvious melodies and instead an urgency of rhythm, lead and highly coloured by Bourne's keyboards.
And who's Dr M?