It was audacious enough for Philadelphia bassist Julie Slick to tour with Adrian Belew at just 19, let alone to rack up experience with Stewart Copeland, Ann Wilson, Jon Anderson, and Alice Cooper all by age 24. So why not a highly experimental and delightfully challenging debut solo album as well? This avant-garde instrumental fusion of progressive rock, funk, and electronica isn’t about virtuosic soling, or compositional high-wire walking, or even song form at all. It’s more about sounds, textures, and moments in Slick’s inventive sonic kaleidoscope. Accompanied by King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp, and drummers Pat Mastelotto, Marco Minnemann, and brother Eric Slick, Julie creates an uptempo, acid-tripped, angularmelodied loop soundtrack (“Mela”), a Pink Floyd-inspired minor progressive dirge (“Nothing to Be Done”), a hypnotic, Nine Inch Nails Ghosts-era pattern with bells, chimes, hand claps, and driving bass (“Shadow Trip”), and a slab of hardcharging punk electronica (“The Rivalry” and “Cage Match”). Slick’s collection of grooves and soundscapes are unpredictable and highly original, and her aggressively picked bass somehow gives it all a fresh, anti-muso edge. Some might even recommend playing this disc at 20 after four. We wouldn’t argue, but from where we sit, it’s worth spinning anytime.
Derek Frank, Let The Games Begin [www.dfrank.net]
The trendsters say the ’80s are hot right now, but Los Angeles sideman vet Derek Frank is having none of that on his supergroovy debut album Let The Games Begin. Right from the bass-anddrums- only downbeat of disc opener “Breakout,” it’s an unapologetic, bassdrenched homage to everything cool about rhythm sections from the ’70s, and Frank’s ’63 Fender P-Bass (strung with flats, of course) is the star of the show, in front of the mix and carving fiercely. Games isn’t stuck in that era’s rut, either; there’s just enough modernity sprinkled about to avoid easy caricature, and today’s thumb stylists will appreciate the Marcus-influenced slapmelody approach to the Hall & Oates classic “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” But make no mistake—this is mostly a smorgasbord of vintage keys, unison horn lines, and filter-soaked funky bass that’s designed to make the booty move while the disco ball spins. Somewhere, the Brand New Heavi