Ted Killian - "Flux Aeterna"
(pfMENTUM 2001, PFMCD007)
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
Imagine Robert Fripp, David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, and Jimi Hendrix at their wildest, and add heavy doses of electronics and space Kosmiche, and you've something like Flux Aeterna by Oregon based guitarist Ted Killian. Killian plays electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loads of creative loop work, and sound design to create a ripping set of guitar excursions and pyrotechnics that meld numerous recognizable influences into something decidedly Killianesque. I gather by "sound design" that Killian is using loads of guitar efx, perhaps even some electronic gear. The ambient element is prominent throughout the CD's 10 tracks, but over the ambience is a man seemingly possessed, wrenching piercing, noisy, throbbing... you name it... notes from his guitar.
"Hubble" opens the set as a kind of Hendrix Star Spangled Banner type tune backed by low drones and subtle percussive sounds. "Leaving Medford" is a combination rock concert shred solo, psychedelic freakout, and ambient David Torn styled excursion. Killian keeps the piece busily exciting as he kicks out wailing and rumbling runs and anguished notes, yet the sonic attack has an element of restraint from the ambient backdrop and slowly pulsating electronic sounds. A well crafted piece that blends killer playing with Killian's frenetic sound designs. "Cauterant Baptism" features ripping spaced out rock solos backed by repetitive Dubby/hip-hoppy rhythms and intense looped bits. "Last Sparrow" includes strong Frippoid guitarscape influences but backed by mechanical minimalist patterns. "Recurvate Plaint" is an acoustic and electric guitar duo piece that starts off easy-paced but the electric guitar solos soon start to shred a bit with sharp attacks that contrast in a strange but cooperative way with the laid back acoustic guitar. "Convocation Solitaire" is similar but far more ambient, conjuring up images of John Fahey teamed up with David Torn. "Gravity Suspended" is like a noisier version of something from Torn's Cloud About Mercury. And "Nocturnal Interstices" is an ambient tune featuring looped Fripp styled guitarscapes placed against a seaside setting of rushing ocean waves.
And there's plenty more. In some ways I'm reminded of a modern version of Steve Tibbetts first two albums. Or Fripp gone totally acid cosmic. King Crimson for space rock fans? In any event, this is one exciting as hell album that fans of creatively aggressive guitar work will love. Killian goes nuts on the loops and efx, but all throughout the album it's crystal clear that the man can PLAY. Highly recommended.
For more information you can visit the pfMENTUM web site at: http://www.pfmentum.com/.
You'll find loads of sound samples at Ted's Mp3.com web site at: http://www.mp3.com/tedkillian.
Contact via snail mail c/o pfMENTUM, PO Box 1653, Ventura, CA 93002.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz