"Carved in Stone" CD - Rundio
review by Greg Howard
Rundio: Chapman Stick, Stick loops, Zendrum, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, drum loops
Steve Dedow: guitars, vocals
Steve Clarke: baritone and soprano sax
Ellen Dedow: vocals
Ian Sinclair: djembe
Lucas Jacobson: shonga
Rundio describes his music as "atmospheric progressive rock with ancient overtones", but don't let the word atmospheric fool you. There's lots of energy here, and if you'll forgive the pun, Carved in Stone frequently "rocks", hard.
The Minneapolis-based multi-instrumentalist (a.k.a. Louis Sinclair), patiently sets his songs up with big, warm Stick bass grooves, loopy Stick melody rhythm parts, and the Zendrum, a sophisticated drum-sample triggering instrument that he commands equally as well as The Stick. On top of it all he delivers melody after melody of warm lyrical Stick leads.
In the age of "digital recording", this one sounds anything but. Rundio's distorted leads just cross the feedback line, sustaining and melding with one another in this, his sonic crucible. His Zendrum playing is incredibly natural sounding, tastefully spare, and always in the pocket, even on the more demanding polyrhythmic "prog" tracks. I found myself admiring "the drummer" more than once.
The layers build and shift quickly, inviting the listener to delve deep with open ears, lest we miss a fleeting sound or texture ("hey, what was that?"). At just over 43 minutes it's a quick listen, so pay attention!
Most of the tracks are by Rundio, except for "Alchemy", a heavy rocker co-written with guest guitarist/vocalist Stephen Dedow, and Henry Purcell's "Funeral for Queen Mary", majestically delivered in the bass and baritone ranges of The Stick. The meaty, aggressive, full-bodied sound of his PASV-4-equipped Baritone Melody 10-string is all over this record, and Rundio is able to blend it perfectly with acoustic guitar, electric guitar, synths, Steve Clark's baritone and soprano saxophones, and the Zendrum samples and acousitic percussion, to great effect.
All tracks by Rundio except where noted:
1 - Pendulum
2 - Chimes of Stone
3 - Funeral for Queen Mary (Henry Purcell)
4 - Shadows
5 - Pop Culture
6 - Heartfelt
7 - Twilight
8 - Chalice and Blade
9 - Alchemy (Rundio/Dedow)
10 - Slog