Herbie Hancock: Water Torture


Water Torture


Herbie Hancock (piano, Fender Rhodes, Hohner D-6 clavinet, mellotron)


Crossings (Warner 247542)

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Herbie Hancock (piano, Fender Rhodes, Hohner D-6 clavinet, mellotron),

Dr. Eddie Henderson (trumpet, flugelhorn), Julian Priester (bass trombone, tenor trombone, alto trombone, cowbell), Bennie Maupin (soprano sax, bass clarinet, piccolo, afuche, hum-a-zoo), Dr. Patrick Gleeson (ARP 2600 and soloist), Billy Hart (drums), Buck Clarke (percussion)


Composed by Bennie Maupin


Recorded: San Mateo, CA, February 1972


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

"Water Torture" expanded the role of the synthesizer in jazz; its purpose was to amplify electronically based sounds impossible for acoustic instruments to generate. While the arbitrary effects are just as liquefied as the dense, oversaturated reverb, and the pace plods along like slow death, the synth creates impressions of creaking doors and safari adventures. At the same time, everything is randomly processed, which allows a diverse pool of pings to surface. Most of the instruments ultimately sound created by a computer; the strings' tones ring untrue, yet such mock reality does not immediately repulse because, after all, these sounds are merely meant to resemble, not replace, the instruments themselves, and the majority of what is heard in the mix was not performed by the musicians in real time anyway. The track easily could have been crafted by a single person, as other human participants are unnecessary given that the producer is such a perfectionist. Its laboriousness is a perfect example of why such digital audio workstations as Pro Tools immediately replaced analog tape as the recording industry standard; works that would have formerly taken months to years to finish can now be completed in much less time.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary


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