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Mark O’Leary : On the Shore

With On the Shore, Mark O’Leary demonstrates that even beautiful music can bore the hell out of you. The Irish guitarist and his quartet-percussionist Alex Cline, trumpeters John Fumo and Jeff Kaiser-create an atmospheric soundscape that conjures images of O’Leary’s Cork Harbour home; while many of its parts are absolutely gorgeous, their sum has little to no direction and is often deadly slow.

The drums are an obvious problem. Cline, who has astonishing prowess and creativity, beats on shells, sticks and stones as well as traps; unfortunately, he uses them mostly for color-very thin color. Headphones are often required (as on “Vespers”) to even know he’s there. Where he does have a weighty attack (“Staring at the Sun”), it generates a momentum that’s welcome, but unsure of itself.

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