Stebmo – Stebmo (2008)
FLAC (tracks+.cue) | Tracks: 9 | Playtime: 00:36:37 | Size: 195.4 MB
Genre: Fusion, Avant-Garde Jazz | Label: Invada | Cat#: INV060CD
This is the first solo record from Steve Moore; no this is not the same Steve Moore that is half of the soundscape group Zombi, but rather this is the multi instrumentalist that one can hear and see with Earth since their “comeback” album Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method. Stebmo is Steve Moore’s first solo album after working for a number of years with a varied list of other artists like Sunn 0))), the aforementioned Earth, Sufjan Stevens, and others. After seeing Moore recently playing with Earth, my interest in this solo record is definitely higher than prior but only because seeing this album on the Earth merchandise table gave me an “a-ha” moment that I will privately never live down for my ignorance.
Stebmo comes across at first as some nouveau smoky jazz club offering, or at least how I would expect a smoky jazz club to sound as New York and Pennsylvania do not allow smoking in their “clubs” or bars (and New Jersey really does not have such a thing regardless of what people might tell you). This jazzy sound is solid and without the schmaltzy overtones that some white boy jazz has, while at the same time adding some subtle distorted drones and other such additional guitar work from time to time. Many of the pieces contain tasteful piano or keyboard melodies that anchor many of the arrangements while the usual menagerie of musicians ply their wares with drums, trumpets, guitars, trombones, clarinets, and the occasional banjo ukulele (although I am surprised by the lack of saxophones on a more jazz influenced record but that might just be me). Considering Moore’s contributions to Earth, Stebmo is not completely shocking for any reason other than the relatively brief moments that each song occupies on the album; when the only prior exposure that one has to an artist is lengthier tracks, a just over two minute long wistful piano excursion, like on “Rathdrum” or an under two minute long piano piece like “Work” come as a bit of a shock.
Steve Moore and company give listeners quite the mellow offering while at the same time the record is soothing. Stebmo certainly is not boring, but the album is very sublime and offers a respite from the noise that might be invading listener’s ears at the present. The arrangements are all superbly tasteful, and Stebmo as a whole is very cohesive with seamless transitions and effortless passes into new songs. I am not sure how long it took for Moore to write this record, but it certainly seems as though he spent quite a long while refining it while still maintaining that jazzy feel. The album reminds me of jazz without all of the noodling improvisation that can be overbearing at times, and I would recommend this to anyone in need of a calming respite from the usually harshness that may or may not plague one’s (like me) speakers.
01. Waiting Game (Moore) – 4:37
02. Blind Ross (Moore) – 3:38
03. Rathdrum (Moore) – 2:02
04. Holding Pattern (Moore) – 3:43
05. Happy Ending (Moore) – 4:21
06. Majika (Martine) – 3:34
07. Dark Circles (Moore) – 7:04
08. Work (Moore) – 1:41
09. Tough Luck (Wieselman) – 5:57
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