Apr 12, 2019
With the release of Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! today, drummer/composer Mark Guiliana pushes further than ever against the boundaries of musical classification. Is it jazz? Is it electronica? Is it progressive rock? More importantly – does it matter what we call it?
The latest Beat Music product from Guiliana builds on the strengths of his twin releases in 2014, My Life Starts Now and Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations. On those albums Mark skillfully used the vocabulary of electronica on jazz compositions and improvisations, resulting in an always interesting hybrid. By his admission, Beat Music: The Los Angeles Improvisations relied heavily on sound and rhythmic experiments. With Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music!, the pieces are more completely composed, and Guiliana’s crew of exceptional musicians, including Donnie McCaslin Group members Jason Lindner (keyboards) and Tim Lefebvre (bass) and electronicists Troy Zeigler and Steve Wall eschew traditional improvisational techniques, while make the most of the material.
Guiliana’s approach to sound and space here echoes his work on David Bowie’s swansong album Blackstar. A few tracks recall Bowie’s Eno experiments Low and Heroes. Mark even dabbles in Dub with bass player Stu Brooks. Even more intriguing is his use of the spoken word, often merely as a textural device, allowing the timbre of the voice to be another instrument, but on “ BONES”, in a moving, elegiac manner.
Podcast 675 is my conversation with Mark Guiliana, as we discuss the new CD, his European tour plans, and his past work with bassist Avishai Cohen and as a member of the Donnie McCaslin Group. Musical selections from Beat Music! Beat Music! Beat Music! Include “GIRL”, “HOME”, and “BONES” plus “One for Mark” from Avishai Cohen’s 2006 album Continuo; and the rocking “Great Destroyer” from the McCaslin Group’s recent release, Blow.