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"Overstep"
Mike Gordon - Moss CD
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Mike Gordon - Moss CD

Item #: MGCD08
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Moss, Mike's third solo album, comes only two short years after The Green Sparrow, and about half of its songs stem from the same 50-song burst of creativity that seeded that album. Gordon's bass lines wind through these songs like strands of DNA, determining the forms that the surrounding instruments and overall composition take. This is not an entirely far-fetched comparison, as lyrical references to double helixes, spirals and corkscrews – some of the shapes that DNA and other bits of cellular material assume – run through these songs, especially the dreamier, more otherworldly ones.

A four-song sequence, comprising "Flashback," "The Void," "Got Away" and "Spiral," goes places no songs have gone before. You might suppose these soundscapes are musical evocations of particularly fanciful sights and sounds experienced while on hallucinogenic vision quests. Songs like "Spiral" and "The Void" detour into evocatively abstract, meterless areas of sound with a mysterious, textural richness. On the other hand, such numbers as "Can't Stand Still" and "Fire From a Stick" – both joyfully devoted to muses, mentors and the ecstatic wellspring of inspiration - are infectious, danceable, upbeat and viscerally planted in the here and now. Drummers Joe Russo and Doug Belote crop up throughout the album, and other guests include organist Marco Benevento, keyboardist Page McConnell and drummer Jon Fishman.

Click on the product image for a complete track listing
1. Can't Stand Still
2. Horizon Line
3. Fire From A Stick
4. What Things Seem
5. Babylon Baby
6. Flashback
7. The Void
8. Got Away
9. Spiral
10. Idea

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    Overstep is Mike Gordon's fourth solo studio album, following Moss, The Green Sparrow, and Inside In. Gordon and Scott Murawski penned the songs for Overstep during a series of writing retreats in New England. He turned over the producing reins to Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo, Pixies) and invited a few new players into the studio, including legendary drummer Matt Chamberlain (Jon Brion, Fiona Apple). "Yarmouth Road," the infectious, reggae-inspired number is already familiar to Phish fans after its debut (along with "Say Something") on the band's Summer 2013 tour. Distant industrial noise gradually gives way to lush guitars and welcoming vocal harmonies in "Ether," the album opener (listen to the track here), while "Jumping" is a rhythmic puzzle box, detailing a series of thoughts that take place in a fleeting 1.5 seconds. Many of these songs promise huge payoffs in a live environment, most notably two plunging grooves that seem capable of bringing a house down. "Tiny Little World" opens with a polite reverie about a fetching woman in a coffee shop, but morphs quickly into pulsing boogie as the narrator is carried away by desire and bravado. Debauched exhortations to dance surface again in "Face," which chugs along atop Chamberlain's simple but undeniable pocket. The songs on Overstep also speak to Gordon's evolving ability to develop three- dimensional characters, and to speak more directly to the truth of their condition. He hasn't lost his appetite for metaphor, and he still leaves plenty of room for interpretation, but listeners may find themselves recognizing the human portraits in songs like "Say Something" and "Paint" in a way they haven't in Gordon's previous albums. Still, happily, Gordon embraces absurdity as he always has - conceptually, lyrically, and musically.
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