An ambitious, unwieldy but favorable musical endeavor,
“Wanderlust” (self-produced) aims high for visionary and sonic vistas that guitarist/composer
Cliff Hines often reaches. Sleekly modernistic, the album is fused with
electro-acoustic touches that flow with genuine wonderment. Hines favors fuzz
tones, feedback, electronic pulses and ethereal vocals on “Brothers,” the solid
lead tune that sets the stage for the composer’s musical worldview, one that’s
unlimited by genre or boundaries, but Hines is such a musical shape shifter
that it can be hard to keep up with the vision. A New Orleans resident and
educator, Hines creates plenty of adventurous passages and aural textures that
inflate tunes like “Dresden” and “Tehran” with mysterious import. Chief
collaborators include vocalist Sasha Masakowski whose inflection and manner is
suggestive of Esperanza Spalding, while Andrew McGowan on Rhodes and piano,
Jasen Weaver on bass and Paul Thibodeaux on drums round out the core band.
Guest spots go to some of NOLA’s hottest talents including Khris Royal, Kent
Jordan and Bill Summers who handles percussion duties on the title track. The
strongest cut, “Aetherea,” is richly evocative of the Crescent City with a boss
solo by trombonist Michael Watson and second line rhythm.
Hines has a fearless
quality, incorporating disparate instruments (sitar, slide guitar, shortwave
radio) into a cohesive jazz-fed language. The album concludes with a bravura
statement, a 12+ minute retro-styled track called “The Path Of Arjuna” that’s
cinematic in scope and pleasingly spacey in tone. (12 tracks; 58:06 minutes) Find it here.
Labels: Andrew McGowan, Cliff Hines, Jasen Weaver, Paul Thibodeaux, Sasha Masakowski