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Published: 2010/11/22
by Pat Buzby

Mike Keneally/Marco Minnemann
Evidence of Humanity

Exowax

There was a time when Mike Keneally’s CDs included a few songs that sounded suspiciously like attempts to write a hit. These days, though, even the most concise and clever XTC-flavored tune is out of bounds for most outlets. Credit Keneally for not letting that stop him, though – his projects have gotten more, not less, ambitious.

In the case of this CD, though, the credit is not solely in Keneally’s hands. Drummer Marco Minneman recorded a fifty-minute improvisation and shipped it off to numerous guitarists to put their work on top. I haven’t yet heard what the others have made of it.

Keneally, though, has turned it into a crazed narrative – somewhat similar to his Scambot project last year, but this time there are no lyrics or liner note stories. Minneman’s solo includes the expected rapid barrages, but also interludes of quiet toms and chimes, and even some silence, but throughout almost all of it is a feeling of sprinting, and one can imagine Keneally’s guitar work chronicling a period of travel. Metallic guitar riffs suddenly give way to pensive acoustic melodies, which in turn yield to cartoonish keyboards or percussion, before finally arriving at a “place to stay” in the final track.

As with Scambot, the concept itself recalls Zappa (in this case, his “imaginary solos” of the late 70’s) and the grandeur reaches Yes levels, but in execution it goes elsewhere. The best argument for the survival of the CD is to create a work that creates its own world. Evidence of Humanity achieves this goal.

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