THE ELECTRIC DISTANT SURFACING (released October 2000, Cosmic Vending Machine CVM001). An amalgam of primary elements and colors, an initial mission statement, an homage to the psychedelic fusion of Lifetime and early Mahavishnu, a chance of a lifetime to work with the legendary Mo-zone -- Tom McCarthy's first album was conceived as all of these things. Recorded on a shoestring with the loving contributions of Tom's colleagues from the Boston production of Blue Man Group, the centerpiece of the disc is the inspired interaction of McCarthy and drummer Bob Moses, who lends his African-inspired healing vibrations of sound to the project. Spiritual guide, mystic and musical pioneer, Moses continually expands the form and sonic scope of the five compositions from McCarthy, which journey through inner and outer reaches close to the hearts of both musicians -- the incandescent solar fields of mid- to late-Coltrane. The openning track, "Mark of Cain" (a title echoing McCarthy's own sense of wandering in search of the Source of One-ness), ushers forth with a Coltrane-ish modal melody and a corruscating guitar solo through which Moses conjures ecstatic peaks of sound as McCarthy casts a knowing glance in the direction of Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, and Albert Ayler. Receding from this highly-charged field, the band moves toward the psychedelic, dark ambient territory that is the diurnal, lunar compliment to the solar flares kindled by Moses in the other sections. The sound of Jimi Hendrix, the Hendrix of the Saturnalian blues and sonic journeys of "A Merman I Should Turn to Be", is clearly on McCarthy's mind, as are the compositional structures and elliptical melodies of Wayne Shorter (in "Dissolving In Orchid") and the visceral white noise and heat of Tony Williams' Lifetime and mid-70's King Crimson (in "Everything Is"). Diversity of pallette, like a changing of seasonal colors in the soundscape, are provided by the poignant piano and guitar duet "Still Place", which features Jamie Edwards on piano with McCarthy taking up the acoustic guitar, and Eastern-flavored sections of "Noesis", the 20-plus minute track that Guitar Player magazine's Jude Gold enthused is like a lost treasure from the vinyl age. "Noesis" is a deep journey, leaping off from an oblique yet enchanting modal melody into a reverb-soaked tube-driven guitar solo over a deep, trance-like Moses groove. After a drum solo from Moses, the melody returns and washes away dream-like into a mystical atmosphere of sitar, flute and Tibetan bells. Later, McCarthy and Moses exchange koan-like phrases over a dark, bluesy outro that is finally taken up into the coda -- a slow madrigal procession of cathedral organ.
Check out the artist's website:http://www.cosmicvendingmachine.com
1. Mark of Cain
2. Still Place
3. Dissolving In Orchid
4. Everything Is