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Dave Simmons - The Disintegration Principle

The Disintegration Principle

Dave Simmons

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

An interesting solo guitar exercise vaguely in the way of a lower-case Keith Jarrett experiment, The Disintegration Principle may or may not draw upon a number of influences but showcases them nonetheless: Fahey, Faces, Tibbetts, and Hedges foremost. A fingerstyle player, Simmons injects a lazy drawl into his executions, elasticizing and imbuing notes with the distinctive prairie twang so emblematic of the notably American sound. There's very little in the way of pyrotechnics, save when the composer-player, in only three of the 15 cuts, switches out his acoustic for an electric, screaming in with highly distorted lead lines.

The disc's atmosphere is chiefly contemplative, as it was designed to represent a day, a week, maybe a month, perhaps even a year in a Simmons' life; hence, many switches of mood bedding down in mellowly fragmented western sentiments and images. Crazy for You becomes the foundation template, almost capturing the fleeting mellifluity Jade Warrior very occasionally penned in its early days, W. 57th Street Blues closely following the mode, and with nearly every cut containing at least a shred of the same flavor and pace, usually a good deal more.

A generous amount of slide colors the release, strongly capturing not only what Ronnie Wood had been doing during the Small Faces/Faces transition phase, with songs like Around the Plynth (leave it to the Brits to beat the Yanks at their own game!), but also T.S. McPhee's acoustic outings in and away from The Groundhogs. Once or twice, the dissonance becomes too much, the electric guitar to blame, especially in the title cut, completely skewing away from what the unamped axe had initially crafted.

A Mick Abrahams cow-catcher style (anyone remember Blodwyn Pig's Dear Jill?) similarly adds dimension in a number of places, swelling out to billow like a warm zephyr coursing the Plains, tracking lonely rail-lines as they fade into the purpling distance. The lyrics in Crazy for You Sometimes are completely out of place, followed by the aforementioned Disintegration Principal and its way-too-misplaced lead drop-in, kinda like a sudden thunderstorm but improperly stated in the "middle eight" and at irregular intervals, working much better sporadically than as a clumped intrusion.

The best environment for this CD would be a heartland twilight, air cooling down after a scorcher, Southern Comfort in one hand, a pouch of terbacky chaw in the other, and a few good buds to lazily shoot the breeze with. The release works as both background music and simple reverie -- very Fahey-ish in that respect -- though its abstract flavor might prevent ploughboy appreciation. Structure is minimal, with unexpected accents, but, as a steam of consciousness effort, it has definite solidity. Oh, and the cover artwork's righteous as well, an obvious but highly enjoyable take on the classic Getz/Gilberto LP of 1963 sluiced through Radiohead's Okay Computer.

Track List:

  • Seconds from Disaster
  • Dream
  • The Purity Law
  • Salvation Blues
  • Fluence
  • Biscuit and Gravy Blues
  • The Very First Lie (Dave Simmons / Arnie Brown)
  • Crazy for You
  • W. 57th Street Blues
  • My Troubles Never Leave Me Blues
  • The Stem Effect
  • Crazy for You Sometimes (Dave Simmons / Arnie Brown / Deseree Spinks)
  • Disintegration Principle (Dave Simmons / Arnie Brown)
  • The Last Hour
  • Salvation Blues
All songs by Dave Simmons except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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