Michael Brook

Guitarist/soundtracker Michael Brook won't be totally unfamiliar to closet addicts of the films Heat or Affliction, much less his 1992 avant-ambient full-length Cobalt Blue, which cameoed his old homes Brian Eno. With this new one, fans will find themselves in the same boat as the rest of humanity, fumbling in the dark for a slappable label, a literal impossibility thanks to its being a loose compendium of spur-of-the-moment recordings committed to tape at random periods over the past fourteen years. It's neither as lush nor as guitar-tronic as curious listeners would expect: His Strat makes a plug 'n' play Rockman-like sound much of the time, even when paired with full flesh-and-bone orchestras or the Bulgarian Women's Cosmic Voices Choir providing its Charlton Heston Bible-tales-in-Cinemascope drone (Speaking of colorization, the voice of Richard Burton reads from "Under Milk Wood" for a couple of filibustering minutes.) Lisa Germano contributes her mickey-slipped Sarah McLachlan croon to the Azure Ray-like "Want."

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Eric W. Saeger