Invisible Rays is the collaboration of two guitarists, Trey Gunn (King Crimson) and Henry Kaiser, with drummer Morgan Agren (Kaipa). The fellows met at the 2011 IB Expo, a music education conference in Sweden. With help and push of Thomas Olsson (Isildur's Bane), the trio launched a improvisational jam session during down time. The result is this self-titled work of 11 tracks of experimental music.
When considering any music nearing improv, experimental, or avant garde, normally convention is thrown out the window. Certainly for the first and last tracks, Invisible Rays and An Usually Nice Hotel, respectively, this is the case. Both are large on intrigue with nearly cacophonous and rambling arrangements. Only in the last two minutes of the first track do you get any sense of coherence. Nevertheless they're both plucky and persuasive.
In between these two cuts, you have more accessible pieces, though like the aforementioned not always conventional. Let's mention a few. The Magic Ring of Invisibility sounds more cohesive with its resemblance to jazz rock fusion. The Secret Handshake of Danger (got to love the song titles) blends direction with curiosity in a lighter arrangement. Great Hits, a shorter piece finds Agren it the fore with the guitarists breathing fiery distortion. Later, in a short 18 seconds, this idea returns. Invisibility Clause is power by a lucent thumping bass line, and then enlivened with spacey guitar work.
Like most any experimental music, attentiveness and patience are often required for its appreciation. Invisible Rays is no different. If you're tastes rarely stray from convention or the mainstream, this is likely not for you. Otherwise, for an exercise in ambitious improvisational creativity, you'll find Invisible Rays challenging. (Also, the clever 50's style sci-fi art work is some of the best this year for cover art.)
Trey Gunn, Henry Kaiser, and Morgan Agren offer Invisible Rays, 11 tracks of improvisational and experimental music boasting intrigue and creativity.
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