Gilbert Engle makes some of the most difficult and dense music that we’ve ever reviewed at NeuFutur. Engle’s hook is that he creates a number of different recordings, all in different styles. On 2017 Modern Blue Grass, there is a deconstructed take on the bluegrass style. bg8 has a number of distinct elements that are combined to make a modern take on bluegrass; one can hear synths, banjo, and percussive elements that combine to make something that will stand up to repeat plays.
The different compositions on 2017 Modern Blue Grass do touch upon a variety of sounds, and I feel that it is this challenging of genre and time signature norms that separates Engle’s music from the rest of the modern bluegrass on the market. There are not vocals presented here, but there is a narrative that is weaved through each of the compositions on the album. One of the most interesting things about 2017 Modern Blue Grass (and bg 10 in particular) is that each of the compositions has a considerably different sound than the others. While the album itself is cohesive, there is just so much packed in to the space of the release.
One of the high-water marks of 2017 Modern Blue Grass has to be bg 5. There are hints of traditional classical music (European and Asiastic) that are interspersed alongside a chunky bass line. The aforementioned density of the compositions on Gilbert Engle’s latest means that one needs to really focus to what is going on; we’d have to recommend strapping on a pair of headphones. bg 1 resounds with us long after the disc ceases to play; the elements presented here all are doing their own thing, with the resulting composition striking out boldly as a sum greater than the contributing parts.
Top Tracks: bg 5, bg 8
Gilbert Engle – 2017 Modern Blue Grass / 2017 Self Released / 12 Tracks / http://newjazzmedia.com / https://www.facebook.com/gilbertengle.compositions/ / https://twitter.com/eclecticcompose