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Tony Levin: Pieces of the Sun

Tony Levin, bassist and Chapman Stick man of King Crimson fame, goes the postprog-rock route on his new one, Pieces of the Sun. It all sounds a bit sterile, with its electronic effects-slathered guitars and synths. Sometimes the pieces have an unfinished quality, too, as if they’re mock-ups for some later incarnation, and improvisation and spontaneity don’t seem of much importance. Still, it’s an enjoyable romp, like background music for thinking people. “Dog One” is a previously unreleased tune written by Levin’s employer/collaborator Peter Gabriel, an atmospheric little rock thing on which we half expect a vocal to enter. “Blue Nude Reclining” is a sweet, dreamy interlude, and Levin’s kinetic Chapman Stick work comes to the fore on “The Fifth Man.” “Tequila” is a moody new vamp on the instrumental (well, apart from one word) tune made famous by the Champs in the late ’50s. Maybe that’s the tradition Levin is aiming at: a new brand of instrumental pop, with a progressive tint.

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