Bryan Beller: Life Story


Life Story


Bryan Beller (bass)


Thanks In Advance (Onion Boy OBR-6913002)

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Bryan Beller (bass).

Composed by Bryan Beller


Recorded: Nashville, TN, 2008


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Time is the enemy. There are only so many hours in the day to listen to music and write about it. I have talked of my reviewing process in some of my other reviews. For those of you who are new, here is a quick recap. For historic recordings, most of my thoughts are already stored in my head. I almost don't have to listen to the music. But I do anyway because sometimes I hear things I never heard before. For new music, I spend 10 minutes trying to open the CD package with a steak knife. After applying yet another bandage, I scan a few seconds of each cut to determine the tunes most worthy of review. Once chosen, I listen to an entire piece to double check my intuition. I then listen to the song again as I write the actual review. I have found this method to be the most effective because it allows me to be honest in the moment while making the best use of my time.

Then along comes an album like bassist Bryan Beller's Thanks In Advance that throws a kink in my regimen. Every tune sounds unique and compelling. I can't listen to 30 seconds here and 30 seconds there. Instead I am glued to my office chair, headphones attached intravenously, as I listen to each and every possible second of the music.

Beller first came to some prominence playing in the band put together by Frank Zappa's sons Ahmet and Dweezil called Project Z. He has had a longtime musical relationship with guitarist Mike Keneally and has played with Steve Vai.

"Life Story" is the most subdued cut on the album. But it is also the most sublime. Beller plays all manner of overdubbed basses in varying styles. The engaging melody is made of compressed single notes and chords run through some effects. The actual bassline is a collection of slides, harmonics and rolls that give the piece a fragile stability. But Beller has total control over all elements. In less than two minutes, this captivating gem is over. It is hard to believe that such a short piece would require almost two hours of my time to write about. But when you get truly captured by music, time is not your friend.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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