Ben Monder, Oceana

Yancey Strickler

By Yancey Strickler

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Patiently paced, gentle and delicate

More tactile than 2002's Excavation, Oceana is a cavernous record punctuated by the stalactite-like arpeggios of Ben Monder, the gifted progressive jazz guitarist. The beautiful opening acoustic piece "Still Motion" is a marvelous demonstration of deceptively complex finger-picking (somewhere between classical guitar and the Deadwood theme song), and the 17-minute title track strongly recalls the jazz-fusion flourishes of Tortoise. The best track, however, is "Double Sun," a patiently paced guitar-based performance that swings and swivels, but always stays tethered to a tightly wound internal metronome.