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Jon Durant: Things Behind the Sun

Jon Durant’s fifth outing on his Alchemy label, Things Behind the Sun, features Vinny Sabatino on drums and prog-rock hero Tony Levin on upright bass. It’s an atmospheric 45 minutes, with beds of layered, arpeggiated electric guitar, unison bass and guitar passages and piercing, distorted melody lines that bring to mind Terje Rypdal. On “Dangerous Testimony” and “They Left by the Water” Durant is credited on “cloud guitar,” which sounds synth- or sample-driven, functioning essentially like a keyboard pad. “An Afternoon Entangled,” a sort of jazz-rock epic, vaguely recalls Bill Bruford’s late ’70s band and features Durant on “cloud cello” as well as mallets and piano. “Labyrinth of the World” has Durant playing “duduk guitar,” emulating the ghostly sound of the Armenian reed instrument-not unlike the Bulgarian frula played by Joe Cunningham on “They Left by the Water.” These sounds are all ingenious in their fashion, but overall, the music is static and sleepy.

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