Ray, Rick - Existing Passages

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 74:40:00

You wouldn't think an artist who releases CDs at the rate Rick Ray does would have unused material lying around, and yet here are 19 tracks that represent outtakes or unfinished pieces the multi-instrumentalist composed in 1999 and 2000. Anyone familiar with Ray from his previous albums will have no trouble recognizing him on these pieces. As usual, his guitar work is the main draw and in this he's quite good. Witness the playing on the instrumental "Missing You," one of the highlight pieces. More than just a flurry of notes -- which there sometimes is -- there is a great deal of expression. He makes the same attempt with "Headed Toward Nothing" in a later track. Ray speaks more uniquely with this voice than with his singing voice, as here you will hear the familiar lyrical rhyming pattern that is the hallmark of many a Ray CD. And also as he often does, he voices are run through a filter, giving them a hazy and distorted sound.

"You Say, You Mean" is a liquid, floaty Beatles-esque piece, or more correctly, Harrison-eque. Buried in the mix are layered guitar textures, some that seem almost keyboard like ? Ray plays both so could be either. The bottom layer is what gives this track its liquidity, a chiming layer adds a bit of shimmer, and then the top layer is the lead layer. Mixed in is some equally liquid bass. Layered elements feature on "Dead Sea," the track that ends the CD. It sounds like a mix of The Who's "Pinball Wizard" and The Moody Blues' "Question" ? mainly in the acoustic guitar part, with the added electric lead played over it. Nice stuff.

"Dominon" is a heavy, chunky piece with a touch of the blues at first before it brings in a bit a of chaos into the mix. Imagine a raw, live Deep Purple improvising before breaking into "Highway Star" and yet never quite getting there. Nevertheless it is a quite energetic and lively piece ? quite a contrast to most of the pieces that are merely ho-hum. "The Oblivious" has a dark sense of menace, and too bad it's an unfinished pieces as one does wonder where it might go from its interesting beginning. "One Dead, One Left" is moderately interesting featuring more distorted and fuzzed guitar work from Ray.

There is a significant shift when "Door To Nowhere" begins, as the whole production quality is given more clarity. A steel stringed arpeggio plays beneath electrified leads, but as the title suggests? this goes nowhere. The leads are nice and do provide some interest, but one wishes the music at least went somewhere. "They Found A Fool" has promise, another track that rises above the malaise that has otherwise set in. Though it has that same familiar lyrical pattern, the improved production brings out more details such this doesn't sound quite as much like a play-by-numbers piece. The production gets too bright on the chilly "Etched In My Mind," its sound a brilliant, blinding white; though as elsewhere, Ray's vocals are buried in the mix.

What also breaks the mold is the bubbly, atmospheric snippet "Beginning To Scream" ? far too brief, but also something that runs the risk of going no where. And some enhanced percussion gives the familiar Ray a new flavor.

Rick Shultz is, as you might expect, along for the ride on this CD, yet, unless he's playing something other than his signature clarinet, is barely heard.

When Ray breaks out of the "Rick Ray" style, he can create some quite good and interesting pieces ? mainly the instrumentals. Vocal tracks seem to but the vocals and what ever message the lyrics are conveying ahead of everything but the guitar leads. Though not meant to be a complete, cohesive album, like a Rick Ray album, it's hit and miss.

Bubblehead (3:36) / Missing You (5:15) / Can't take The Plastic (3:30) / You Say, You Mean (5:21) / Moldy Rope Non-Filter (4:14) / Executer Computer (6:46) / The Glasses (2:53) / Dominion (4:32) / The Oblivious (1:37) / One Dead, One Left (3:51) / Door To Nowhere (2:20) / They Found A Fool (6:36) / Headed Towards Nothing (3:18) / Beginning To Scream (0:47) / Change (4:53) / Etched In My Mind (3:43) / Made To Last (3:57) / Love Blinds Hate (4:05) / Dead Sea (3:18)

Rick Ray ? guitars, keys, etc
Rick Schultz ? clarinet

Abnormal Road (1999)
Balance Of Power (1999)
The Great Antagonist (1999)
Clone Man (1999)
Atomic Soldiers (1999)
Neurotic Tendencies (1999)
You People (1999)
Looking Into the Past (1999)
The Key To The Bottomless Pit (1999)
Cast Into Our Dimension (2000)
Living In An Insane World (2000)
Mind Control, Inc. (2000)
Guitarsenal (2000)
Manipulated DNA (2001)
Insanity Flies (2001)
Existing Passages (2002)
The Guitarsonist (2002)
Rick Ray Band - Into The Hands Of Sinners (2003)
Rick Ray Band - Out Of The Mist Of Obscurity (2003)
Rick Ray Band - Night Of The Living Dedicated (2004)
Chainsaw Manicure (2005)
Rick Ray Band - Temporary World (2005)
Rick Ray Band - Nothing To Lose (2007)
Rick Ray Band - Violence Marred By Peace (2008)
Rick Ray Band - The Setlist (2009)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: March 24th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rickray.net
Hits: 628
Language: english


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