Mark O'Leary "Ellipses" on FMR Records
Mark O'Leary Trio - Ellipses (FMR 254; UK) Featuring Mark O'Leary on guitar & electronics, Stale Storlokken on synth & samples and John Herndon on drums. Considering that Irish daredevil guitar wiz, Mark O'Leary's career is not yet a decade old, he has already unleashed more than a dozen discs as a leader on various labels like Leo, FMR & Clean Feed. Each one of his dozen+ discs features a different trio or duo from around the world an each one is different in sound. This geographically unique trio features Mark on guitar & electronics, Stale Storlokken on synth & samples (worked with Terje Rypdal & is a member of Supersilent) and John Herndon from Tortoise & the Exploding Star Orchestra on drums.
Ellipses features three long pieces, each taking its time to evolve. The title piece is first and begins with some eerie electronic swirls. I like the way this piece unfolds by slowly adding layers of electronic sounds with Herndon's swirling percussion outlining the waves below the surface. When O'Leary finally enters on guitar, he has that great Terje Rypdal-like tone. He is soon burning fiercely, sounding like a mid-seventies era fusion guitar hero swimming (and occasionally drowning) in a tidal wave of electronic currents. On Maskerade, the electronics are mesmerizing and often recall some of those 70's space-rock epics. Kinda like Terje Rypdal and Ginger Baker jamming with Tangerine Dream. The final piece is called Theme from Jack Johnson" and I don't think it is a Miles Davis cover, since it is so mutated. The powerful drums are the central part of this piece with layers of electronic sounds swirling all around. Eventually Mark's furious guitar enters and starts soaring faster and faster. Watch out! When he soon stops, he lets the electronics and drums continue to build in waves together. Coming back in to polish off some incredible Tisziji Munoz-like runs, higher and higher, faster and faster. A fusion lover's dream? Perhaps, but still pretty f*cking exciting!
~Bruce Lee Gallanter