Exposé Online banner

Steve MacLean — Bridges
(ReR Megacorp SM2, 2007, 2CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

Bridges Cover art

The double set covers two decades of work from composer, guitarist, and programmer Steve MacLean. The pieces run a gamut from completely computer-based programmed compositions to a five-piece band, and cover a fair amount of stylistic territory as well. Some of the sequencer work reminds me a bit of Frank Zappa’s electronic recordings, full of parts that could not be played by human musicians. There are also some odd touches experimenting with what was at the time cutting-edge technology in samplers and effects. The band performances share some definite stylistic quirks with those computerized pieces. MacLean definitely favors complex, intricate arrangements recorded very cleanly. In fact, at times the band sounds like it’s programmed! There are some high-concept tricks involved as well, such as mixing backwards and forwards material. Also included is a work for electronic orchestra, a fascinating postmodern concoction of angular rhythmic lines and synthesizer sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard. There are three nice acoustic guitar trios and a few improvisational pieces as well. In spite of the great diversity, there is a common stylistic thread running through all of MacLean’s work that lends a certain coherence. So while the sound is a bit sterile at time (I think he likes it that way), it’s hard not to get caught up in the odd musical world presented. One quibble: in the liner notes to a 1987 piece, MacLean claims to have indulged in “a remix many years before the term existed,” which is clearly false since the word dates back at least to the 70s.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Steve MacLean

Latest news

2020-07-06
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

2020-06-14
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

2020-05-15
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

2020-05-14
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

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Love Spirals Downwards - Flux – Featured at last year's Projekt Fest in Chicago, the fifth release for this duo also happens to be this writer's introduction to them. Their music could be characterized as ambient electronic pop with...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues