I believe that Ralph Peterson is one of the world’s most slept-on drummers. Sure, there were a few years that ey attempted to break it big (with the Harrison-Blanchard Group and OTB), but I feel that eir path to the top has to have Peterson’s unique style in front and center. “Outer Reaches”, the latest album by Peterson and eir Unity Project, is a title that looks to do just that. The album begins with “The Moontrane”, a nearly seven-minute long track that acts as a microcosm for all the distinct musical styles, approaches, and aural twists and turns that will await listeners throughout the album’s other 11 cuts.
There seems to be a perfect interplay between Peterson and the different elements of eir band, manifesting itself perfectly in the fact that the track (and the whole of Outer Reaches) can imperceptibly twist, turn, and otherwise be modified with the utmost of care. “Outer Reaches” continues to impress the further the album plays on, as well. Where I would believe that the disc’s shortest track (“On My Side”, at a hair under four minutes) would be its most simplistic, this is simply not the case. Rather, Peterson and the Unity Project make one of the densest tracks I have ever heard. I’ve personally listened to that cut four or five times and am still finding new things, either playing at the periphery or otherwise hidden in the disc’s rich instrumentation and arrangements.
“Outer Reaches” is an aurally stunning album, and while Peterson has had a few brief tastes of fame, I feel that the heart and soul that has been placed into this title should be eir golden ticket. Order directly from eir website whenever you have the money.
Top Tracks: Katrina Ballerina, Beyond My Wildest Dreams
Ralph Peterson’s Unity Project – Outer Reaches (CD) / 2011 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.ralphpetersonmusic.com