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

 

EVERYONE AT TAROCK MUSIC WISHES YOU ALL A VERY . . .

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From All Of Us At Tarock Music . . .

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Canada’s 3 Angels License 2 Songs For Thriller Film — “Unfit Misfit”

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Ontario Canada’s 3 Angeles Power Film Production, a/k/a The Karam Sisters — Gladys, Jeanne D’Arc, and Mona Lisa — have licensed two Bruce Cohen songs from Tarock Music — “Sal Mineo Rumba” (One BC), and “Monolith” (Two BC).

Directed by Gladys Karam, the new project is a fictional suspence/thriller entitled, “Unfit Misfit,” scheduled for release October 2015.

In addition to Bruce Cohen’s two songs, there’s an amazing diverse roster of artists contributing music to the film’s soundtrack — from Canada: The Spoons, Jeanne D’arc Karam, Sound Pro/TÄZ, and Mandy Bo — from USA: Bedford Davis, Ken Wank, Ryda & K-DubRizo Balic (UK) — Jano Feghali (Egypt) — Christopher Christofi (Cyprus) — from Beirut: Salim Assaf, Wissam Chabo, Mirna Sarkis, Rita Nasr Karam, and Tony Nasr.

 

 

 

 

SONIC CRAPSHOOT BLOG ∎ IN THE USED BINS: “The Reds” LP (1979)

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This jam pops up in the bins all the time. Seen it priced between $3-$8. I’ve seen two versions of it – one on bottle green vinyl, and one on good ol’ black. I first was introduced to this record by my comrade JG and have since played it at home and at my random DJ sets around Columbus. I did some research and found out some interesting stuff. The Reds® were started in Philadelphia, PA by Rick Shaffer (guitar, vocals) and Bruce Cohen (keyboards) in the 70’s and, from what I gather, are still active in some form or another. They have worked with famous director/producer Michael Mann, who used their music in episodes of, get ready for it, Miami Vice, as well as some movies. They have also worked on numerous movie and theater scores, both as a band and as individuals.

Their self-titled first LP, which came out in 1979 on A&M, is my favorite work of theirs. I also want to point out that the cover artwork pretty much suggests what the listener is in for, in a good way. A great blend of mid-tempo angular punk rock and catchy synth new wave, it’s got great songs all over it, kicking off with the sweet intro to the opener Victims, which starts with a straight drum beat before the rest of the band comes in framed by the radio-dial-like synths. Rick Shaffer’s vocals project every bit of emotion, expressed in the lyrics. A great singer! Also, hats off to his sweet riffs. My favorite tune on here is the closer, Self  Reduction. It’s one of the slower and darker numbers on the record. But it’s also the one where Cohen delivers my favorite synth line of almost any out there. It’s simple and somehow perfect.

I often wondered why this record is not as revered as some of its contemporaries. And I’m not talking about the wider audiences here. But you know, yer average punk who’s got some taste, I feel, should be all over this. This noise is not unlike some really early Cure, Plastic Idols, or even Devo.  I have bought copies of it for a couple of my friends, who were pretty excited upon hearing it. I hope more people check this jam out! Also, if you dig this LP check out their subsequent releases, a more aggressive Stronger Silence (1981), and a darker Fatal Slide (1982). There’s also a 10” that came out on A&M the same year as the self-titled, which has two songs from the album, and one that’s not. It also has a very cool take on the Doors’ Break On Through. Che-che-che-eck it out!

∎ Aleks Shaulov — Sonic Crapshoot Blog — February 24, 2014

NOTE FROM TAROCK MUSIC — August 2012  ‘The Reds was re-released digitally by Universal Music, and can be purchased HERE.