JamSphere Review: “Bruce Cohen’s Four BC is ambient music that favors abstraction and improvisation.”

JamsSphereBruce Cohen is a founding member of the Philadelphia band, The Reds®, who’s first self-titled produced by David Kershenbaum, showed the band’s impressive blend of Rick Shaffer’s guitar, and Bruce Cohen’s keyboards.  The album was supported with live appearances with such diverse acts as The Police, Joe Jackson, Blondie, The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, and Public Image.  Cohen’s solo projects include musical scores for theatrical productions and his electronic album series “One BC”, “Two BC,” “Three BC,” and now the latest 2017 album – “Four BC.”

The liner explains that on this recording, Bruce Cohen returned to his ‘ambient electronic roots, with the slightly added twist of totally improvising every song to fit a self-imposed four minute time frame, with little to no overdubs, and no edits whatsoever.’

Douglas Rushkoff notes in his book that “ambient music isn’t a set of particular sounds one listens to but a space in which one breathes.”  In “Four BC” the layers and washes of sound and music can be focused on or ignored, lazily mind-surfed or instead analyzed.

Never a trite “sound collage”, a problem which plagues so many in this genre, this album has moods, textures and rhythms that lend well to repeat listening.  So you can dig deep or soar to the shore with this exceptional work.

Come equipped with a truly open mind because “Four BC” is easy to dismiss without one.  As improvised music, it shouldn’t be surprising that one needs to experiment in finding the appropriate setting and circumstances for realizing its potential.

It may be as simple as using headphones in darkness; for others, it may need to be experienced in nature during a particular time of year.  But the genius is in there waiting for you.  If you can’t be bothered to put in the effort, then listen anyway as you’ll still find plenty to enjoy in terms of rhythms and sounds. It just more accurate listening is so much more rewarding.

I am a devout listener of ambient/electronic music, and when I played through “Four BC” for the first time, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, because I was so used to the mundane commercial tracks of mainstream artists.  I became instantly attuned to the vibrant, melodic vibrations and flowing wave-forms, and ethereal pings that instilled the vastness of space that was all beautifully, subtly and tastefully filled.

Frequencies are substituted for real soundscaping, as the tracks here, are evocative and extremely pleasant to listen to.  This is music that favors abstraction and improvisation, yet everything sounds well-planned out and accessible enough to hold your attention.

On the album “Four BC,” Bruce Cohen offers us more than mere sonic manipulation.  He looks beyond synth manuals and realizes music that is an inextricable weave of sound engineering, solitary reflection and ambient aesthetics.  Consider the album’s tracks as various degrees of emotion, lingering, and then shifting to another state.  For me, the musical subtlety of “Four BC” is in the impression left, rather than the story told.

∎ Rick Jamm — JamSphere MAGAZINE

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Tarock Music Releases Bruce Cohen’s “SEEN” Video

fourbc_artworkTarock Music has released a video of Seen track 5 on Bruce Cohen’s new album, Four BC.  

All of the pencil sketches in the video are the work of Cuban artist Emilio Sanchez (1921 – 1999) from his private collection created from 1940 to 1999.  His full biography can be read at The Emilio Sanchez Foundation. 

View “SEEN” on YouTube ► https://youtu.be/SwCTUP-_kM8

And, download a FREE mp3 of “SEEN” on SoundCloud  https://soundcloud.com/tarockmusic/seen-bruce-cohen

 

Tarock Music Releases Bruce Cohen’s “FOUR BC” Album

fourbc_artworkTarock Music has released Bruce Cohen’s 2017 album.

On FOUR BC Cohen returns to his ambient electronic roots, with the slightly added twist of totally improvising every song to fit a self imposed four minute time frame, with little to no overdubs, and no edits whatsoever.

Listen/Buy/ Full Tracks HERE

Download a FREE mp3 of “Seen” on SoundCloud

ALBUM LINER NOTES

 

RockWired Voters Name Rick Shaffer November ARTIST OF THE MONTH

rockwiredartist-ofthemonthThe polls closed for RockWired’s November 2016 ARTIST OF THE MONTH campaign. Voters made their vote count and Rick Shaffer is RockWired’s 72nd ARTIST OF THE MONTH.

Back in 2011, guitarist Rick Shaffer perked our ears at RockWired with the release of his solo album “HIDDEN CHARMS” and it’s reliance on the very fuzzy, distorted guitar sounds that made Link Wray legendary, the swagger that made The Stones the big deal that they’ve been for fifty some odd years, and Shaffer’s purring vocals that recall Stooges-era Iggy Pop, and Velvet Underground-era Lou Reed. Trust us when we say that no charms were hidden on that album. It was all audible and the perfect antidote to much of the over-production that had come to typify a lot of rock music that year.

Hell, over-production still typifies much of the rock n roll that’s out there now and thank God for Shaffer’s album “OUTSIDE OF TIME.” Shaffer’s gritty rock ‘n roll approach is put to good use on material that speaks to life’s highs and lows (mostly lows) such as the stomping first single “Going Down Slow” accompanied by a mesmerizing music video.

∎October 31, 2016 — Brian Lush — RockWired.com

WATCH THE VIDEO ► http://www.tarockmusic.com/going_down_slow_video/

 

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“Going Down Slow” Gets Music Blogged

musicbloggedRick Shaffer is an artist with a truly distinctive approach to his vision and sound. This talented musician cleverly combines alternative music and country rock in order to create songs that hit the spot emotionally and technically.

The songs on Rick’s recently released album Outside Of Time demonstrate high quality musicianship and timeless song-writing wits, reminding me of the sound of seminal influencers including the likes of Neil Young, The Cramps or The Blasters, just to mention but a few.

The album’s lead single “Going Down Slow” does a great job of driving the album with a set of stunning rhythms and melodies. The song effortlessly goes between blues, rock and country. The aesthetics of the song have a truly 60s flavor, but the arrangement and the production value have a punch that is all modern and up-to-speed with the needs and want of today’s audience.

Rick is a charismatic performer whose style is refreshingly direct, iconic and versatile. Behind its thought-provoking enigmatic title, this album hides a refreshingly down-to-earth approach that goes back to the roots of Rick’s passion.

Ben Corke – Music Blogged

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Tarock Music Releases Rick Shaffer Video ∎ TALKING ABOUT YOU

02_5381708“Talking About You” is track 5 on Rick Shaffer’s 2013 album release, STACKED DECK.

All the photographs in the video are the work of photographer, Morris Huberland (1909—2003). Mr. Huberland’s family immigrated from Poland to New York City’s Lower East Side in 1920. In 1940, he joined New York’s Photo League, citing Eliot Elisofon’s lectures on photojournalism as influential to his artistic approach. In the 1950’s he took numerous photographs in various NYC neighborhoods, labeling them, “Girl Gang.” Mr. Huberland continued to exhibit work into the 20th and 21st centuries at various New York City institutions, including: the Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and the Jewish Museum. Additionally, his photographs often accompanied articles published in The New York Times.

In August 2016 The New York Public Library made hundreds-of- thousands of photographs for use with no fees, allowing Images to be used, reused and shared commercially and otherwise, and can be downloaded from their digital collection ► http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/ The Morris Huberland photographs compiled for this video are from The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Photography Collection, at The New York Public Library.

WATCH THE VIDEO ► https://youtu.be/Tz6r3KSH8qU

 

“Rick Shaffer is back with more of his signature proto punk . . .”

CrossradarRick Shaffer is back with more of his signature proto punk, just as bristling and energetic as ever.

‘Killer Time’ kicks things off with swaggering vocals that race alongside the furious guitars which splutter along and give way to a solo that is curiously slurred and tight at the same time. ‘Going Down Slow’ paints the picture of devil-may-care driving down the road late at night, with flashes of British rock thrown into the mix. Rick Shaffer’s work continues to be exciting and engaging, on the one had looking back to the influences of early punk rock, while on the other always looking for new ways to communicate that punk aesthetic. ‘Your Charm’ takes a classic riff and redevelops it for its own purposes, like taking some old clothes and deconstructing them to be recreated in a new way. It’s all still the same fabric, but it’s sometimes time to be used differently. As a result, the tracks found on Outside Of Time have a feeling of familiarity while also offering the excitement that comes from engaging with new tunes.

Shaffer certainly sticks to a consistent model, and anyone who knows of his work is unlikely to be disappointed with this new selection of upbeat, swaggering tunes.

• Chris Marsh • August 24, 2016
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