Ray, Rick - Insanity Files

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Neurosis Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:03:00

Insanity Flies is the most recent studio release from guitarist Rick Ray, excepting Existing Passages, which is an album of out-takes or unfinished pieces. As with his past releases Insanity Flies covers similar territory musically and topically. The production is improved, however, making the instrumentation standout much more. Though, as usually, during the vocal parts, these seem set back too far, creating too much space between vocals and instrumentation. I suddenly envisioned 3D art where you have to find the image in the pattern. Once it snaps into view, it floats above the background. That's the overall effect here. And, as always, t's the instrumental passages and tracks that are the attraction here.

I like the guitar work on the opening track "The Glass Man," especially the lighter, more lyrical tones. Keyboards flutter in the background, though upping them a notch would be welcome. Rush again comes to mind. Nearly every album has a "Guitarsomething" song on it, on this album it's the instrumental "Guitartichoke," which is a very nice piece of guitar rock, with keys subtly in the background. Certainly one of the highlights. "Power Gone Mad," as one might expect from the title, is a powerhouse rocker. Ray rips up the fretboard with speedy runs, but doesn't loose complete control. Like the best of Satriani, Vai, Roth, et. al., there's a melody and a song in amongst his dexterous playing. "Any More?" mixes it up again, being another instrumental. It's hard to say whether the drums and percussion are analog (i.e. Ray on drums) or digital (i.e. Ray programming drums), but the do add a nice element. They seem a little too perfect to be analog, but it's possible it's a little of both - real drums looped (this seems the most probable). I like the bass work here, too, though like the drums, doesn't break out of backing rhythm mode. Understandable when guitar's the focus.

Through out mainstay Rick Shultz add his clarinet -- he's a good musician, but the addition of this element seems out of place in the music. Maybe it's too brassy for the more muted colours of the instrumentation - especially during vocal tracks, where everything else is set back. Rising up are these thin but shiny notes. I'm listing to the title track as I write this, and so this would be the example. For this week's issue, I've also been listening to the live release from the 70s German band Brainstorm, where Roland Schaefer plays clarinet. Hearing the contrasts between the two (Schultz with Ray, Schaefer with Brainstorm), the "an instrument apart" is quite apparent here on Insanity Flies. And yet, this is followed up by "Eyes, Lies and Spies" where the clarinet is much more integrated. This song directly quotes familiar musical phrases, and though I can't immediately name the song (words like "up down, up down..." something, come to mind). Anyway, it's a jazzy piece and certainly quite different for Ray.

The last piece, "Nothing Is Right" is yet another departure for Ray, a little atmospheric, the moody keys lending a certain drama. His playing isn't perfect, but with a little polishing, this could be a stellar track. As it is, its far too short and is perfect for some expansion.

Insanity Flies is one of his stronger releases; recommended for the tracks mentioned above.

The Glass Man (6:37) / Guitartichoke (4:20) / Missing Silhouettes (2:01) / Killing Pawns (4:44) / Power Gone Mad (4:52) / Thought Invaders (5:32) / They've Created A Monster (6:28) / Beyond Belief (4:17) / Any More? (5:16) / Insanity Flies (4:59) / Eyes, Lies And Spies (7:51) / Nothing Is Right (2:06)

Rick Ray - guitars, keyboards, vocals, percussion, bass, RX8
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: April 21st 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rickray.net
Hits: 531
Language: english


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