Mark Murdock 2022
Out from Tokyo and into the mystery, Phoenix-born artist highlights the steps to be taken on the route to peace of mind.
For all the manifold projects Mark Murdock may have brewing simultaneously, it’s this one that projects his adventurous personality from the most favorable angle, because the fusion veteran has been dealing in instrumental jazz rock for decades, always finding new aspects of the genre to experiment on. So don’t be misguided by the title of “Overexposure”: here’s an album which should shine a shadowy light on his entire enterprise as, for the first time since starting the ensemble, the former EMPIRE drummer is going out on a limb for the intrepid trip where members of BRAND X are missing and MM can call the shots without looking up at the legends – and create a mythos of his own. As a result, despite the presence of usual suspects, the ten tracks on display bring forth a whiff of freshness.
Not that Mark totally banished vocals from his band’s fold – what with Tim Pepper soft voice on the album’s progressively soulful titular number, augmented by Fernando Perdomo’s six-string flight, and the funky “Resisting Normality” which appears further down the line – but there’s a different level of freedom on the words-devoid, if lyrical and softly arresting likes of “Zone Out” and “A Disturbance In The Force” whose dominant sonic fiber, respectively faux-flamenco-tinctured and pseudo-pentatonic-shaped, is formed by Charles Lambiase and Rod Farlora’s fretless basses as well, of course, as Murdock’s beat. Following his unorthodox percussive stylings and spacey ivories, the collective take off on “More Madness In The Forecast” to explore rhythmic and melodic possibilities via Joe Berger’s guitar filigree, soaring to the clouds and getting down on the bluesy ground, towards the magnificent “Returning From A Four-Day Journey To The Sun” whose slightly belligerent panorama doesn’t fail to dazzle the aural spectator.
And when “Soul Lantern” offers a cosmic, synthesizers-driven swirl before the same sort of surface tension is picked up in “Reaching For Tranquility” through crystalline pulse that will turn into viscous, yet romantic and cymbals-enhanced, drift, nothing can prepare the listener for the silvery assault of “Falling Satellites” which fares in the on-the-fly changing and often effusive, riff-laden landscape. As a result, once “The Future We Once Knew” resolves this album in a cinematic manner, opening even wider perspective on what the liberated Mark Murdock’s able to deliver, the overexposure and its promise feel almost overwhelming. Here’s an encounter worth looking forward to.