Richard Bone: Coxa

bon-c.jpg (15k) Richard Bone: Coxa
(Quirkworks - 1999)

An Aqua-Velva splash of neo-retro-lounginess permeates Richard Bone's newest. The cool muzak of Coxa (the hip bone) was inspired by Creed Taylor, Rudy Van Gelder, Cal Tjader and Dave Pike; those names are meaningless in my personal referential frame, so I am limited to envisioning martini-swilling hipsters gyrating their own coxas to these lite yet enjoyable ditties.

I do feel we're starting our dance on the wrong foot though with Garden... New agey piano notes trill over slowly stroked ivory chords, though faint electronic percussion does juice it up a bit as the track develops. It's uncomfortably too-close to some MOR/Adult Contemporary/lite jazz sound..., but hey, it's Richard Bone... and it does get better. Like with the cool, loose basslines which thrum behind the breezy sax and keyboard sounds (and just a dash of female voice) of Playa Six, inviting a more appreciative response from these ears. A similarly suave attitude is found Outside the Indiscrimination Field, where a plushly vibrophonic background recieves a topping of tasty xylo-tones, laced with sweeping synth strands.

Pulsing standup bass sounds and cymbal taps add an extra bit of swagger to the chiming tones of Amorita Dive, which is overlain with organ notes, flutey riffs and tiny bubbles. Even more laid back, Dido lounges in a plush xylophoney bed, accented by finger snaps, bamboo beats, spacey shimmers and a flute-flavored lead. Something especially nostalgic seems to be in the air when a plunky piano riff forges the way for the smooth lead of What If (If What?). Later, an old-time radio opera diva voice joins to increase the time warp factor. With its strangely beguiling title, Dragneta, My Love receives a little extra percussive punch behind its relatively funky keyboard action and binaurally wandering sax sounds.

Wispier sheets of synth and brass samples are backed by a steady little beat and lolling bass on a subdued stroll down 47 Youth Street, the longest "real" song at 6:33. I mention this because the final tune, an untitled "hidden track" (10:58) is the disc's longest (not to mention the most properly ambient piece). A trickly background runs through soft synth washes peppered with distant beats and assorted light instrumental visitations.

Muzaky without being blatantly ironic, Richard Bone's new tracks, at their best, stir up a lounge-ready mix of casually hip attitude. Similar to, but not as exotically flavored as, his previous release, Electropica, the tunes on Coxa are groovy in a so-square-it's-cool kind of way. Ambient in their own fashion, these retro-tunes warrant an appreciative 8.2. 8-2.gif
This review posted May 26, 1999

AmbiEntrance © 1999-97 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).