Herd of Instinct — Conjure
(Firepool Records FR004, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-01
Herd of Instinct is back with a second helping of a dozen new tracks. They are a quartet now; seems that Gayle Ellett (Hammond, Rhodes, Mellotron, and Moog – from Djam Karet) has upgraded from guest player to full membership in the band, which otherwise remains unchanged from their eponymous debut: Mark Cook (Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar), Jason Spradlin (drums) and Mike Davison (guitars, guitar synth). As before, there are several guests, track depending, on flute, additional keyboards, trumpet, and lap steel; Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree supplies fretless bass on two cuts, and percussion loop samples from Steve Tibbetts appear on two others. After the first couple cuts that offer a powerful reminder of the band's King Crimson influences, they start branching out into other territories, weaving in some world influences, psychedelic sounds, elements of jazz, avant-garde and symphonic rock. In every endeavor here, powerful melodies, complex rhythms, dynamic intensity, and the cell-structured compositional style that Warr guitar lends itself to so well to are never too far away. There are so many standout tracks that it's difficult to enumerate them all, but suffice to say across these twelve there's never a dull moment. Compared to their debut, this one seems to be a solid step up, more consistent, with all of the diverse styles now better integrated into a consummate whole. A great listen, beginning to end.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more