Michael Brook
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Hybrid , 7/10
Cobalt Blue , 6.5/10
Live At The Aquarium , 5/10
Sleeps With The Fishes , 5/10
Captive , 5/10
Dream , 5/10
Night Song , 6/10
Star Rise , 5/10
Albino Alligator , 6.5/10
Black Rock , 5/10
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(Translated from the Italian by Clare Matz)

Michael Brook is a Canadian guitarist from Toronto with a unique pedigree: pupil of LaMonte Young, with whom he studied classical Indian music, member of Martha and the Muffins back in the new wave years, collaborator with renowned composers such as Jon Hassell, Jane Siberry, Peter Gabriel, Nana Vasconcelos, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and producer of world-music records.

His first solo record Hybrid (Editions EG, 1985), was one of the first "ambient" works of Brian Eno current, but already reflected influences from African and Indian music. Brooks brand sound is the hypnotic "infinite guitar" of his own invention: the instrument sounding like a sitar and then further filtered according to a technique similar to Hassleís trumpet, is able to maintain a tone infinitely. It is the cushioned tone of the guitar that populates the percussive swamps of title-tracks, his are the thunderous ghosts that frighten the ambient sugar of Mimosa and Ocean Motion and the languid trance of Midday.

Brook involved on all fronts, for years never found enough time to record another record. When he did, Cobalt Blue (4AD, 1992) he approached the most hypnotic and atmospheric new age, but grafted with strong African rhythms . The albumís twelve wordless romances conjugate technology and primitivism according to the teachings of Steve Roach and Peter Gabrielís latest work. The success of the "sound" of theis record is due to the collaboration of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois as well.

Live At The Aquarium (4AD, 1993) repeats some of those compositions, but this time Brook is alone and the difference can be heard.

Michael Brook e` un chitarrista Canadese di Toronto che vanta un pedigree pressoche' unico: allievo di LaMonte Young, con cui studio` musica classica indiana, membro dei Martha & The Muffins ai tempi della new wave, collaboratore di compositori illustri (fra cui Jon Hassell, Jane Siberry, Peter Gabriel, Nana Vasconcelos, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp) produttore per dischi di world-music.

Il suo primo disco solista, Hybrid (Editions EG, 1985), fu una delle prime opere "ambientali" della corrente di Brian Eno, ma denotava gia` l'influenza dalla musica Africana e da quella Indiana. Il marchio di fabbrica di Brook e` comunque il suono ipnotico della "infinite guitar" di sua invenzione: lo strumento, dotato di un timbro che assomiglia a quello del sitar e ulteriormente filtrato secondo una tecnica simile a quella della tromba di Hassell, e` capace di tenere un tono all'infinito,
E' quel timbro ovattato della chitarra a popolare le paludi percussive della title-track, sono i suoi rombi di fantasma a spaventare lo zucchero ambientale di Mimosa e Ocean Motion e la trance languidissima di Midday.

Brook, impegnatissimo su tutti i fronti, non trovo` per anni il tempo di registrare un altro disco. Quando lo fece, Cobalt Blue (4AD, 1992) si avvicino` alla musica new age piu` ipnotica e atmosferica, salvo innestare robusti ritmi africani. Le dodici romanze senza parole dell'album sposano tecnologia e primitivismo secondo i dettami di Steve Roach e dell'ultimo Peter Gabriel. Il successo "sonoro" del disco e` dovuto anche alla collaborazione di Brian Eno e Daniel Lanois.

Live At The Aquarium (4AD, 1993) ripete alcune di quelle composizioni, ma questa volta Brook e` solo. E la differenza si fa sentire.

Michael Brook wasted his talent in a number of collaborations, ranging from the moody synth-pop pieces of Sleeps With The Fishes (4AD , 1987), with Clan Of XYMOS' Pieter Nooten to the soundtrack Captive (Virgin, 1987), with U2's The Edge, from Dream (Real World, 1995), with Indian mandolin virtuoso Upalappu Srinivas, to Night Song (Real World, 1996), with sufi master Nusrat Fateh Ali. The collaboration with Ali started way back on Ali's Mustt Mustt (Real World, 1990) and continued on Ali's Shahbaaz (Real World, 1990) and The Last Prophet (Real World, 1994). Night Song (Real World, 1996) is different because it is truly Brook's, not Ali's, as was Dream. Brook subjects the music to an intellectual treatment that takes away most of the spirit and the energy of his partners. When Ali died, the collaboration lent itself to commercial speculation: Star Rise (Real World, 1997) is an album of remixes from Mustt Mustt and Night Song, and, needless to say, of dance remixes. The remixers (popular British musicians of Asian descent) introduce elements of modern dance-music (dub, jungle and trip-hop) that distorts Ali's music and insults Ali's memory. The show must go on, as they say on Broadway.

Albino Alligator (4AD, 1997) is another soundtrack, and Brook writes it according to the Ry Cooder canon of evocative, noir, postmodern guitar, with nods to jazz, blues, country and surf. While completely different from his usual techno/ethno tour de forces, this album ranks among his best works of art.

Brook submits to the same process Armenian duduk virtuoso Didjan Gasparyan, whom he had produced on Moon Shines At Night (Real World, 1993). Their collaboration, Black Rock (Real World, 1998), is, again, a Brook album that employs, manipulates, warps, filters, abstracts the sound of Gasparyan's instrument. The result, one more time, is trance and ambience with an ethnic flavor.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) is the soundtrack to a documentary, in an old-fashioned ambient style.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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