Marc Ribot & Various Artists 

Silent Movies & Imaginational Anthem Volume 4: New Possibilities

Is Marc Ribot the most protean, multi-purpose guitarist of our time? Do Hollywood studios dump crap into multiplexes? Ribot has graced recordings and touring bands of Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, John Zorn, Allen Toussaint, and The Black Keys.. He can rock, swing, and make gleefully intimidating noises with aplomb. Silent Movies is Ribot in a predominately acoustic context, playing compositions for assorted films. "The Kid" (written to accompany a Charlie Chaplin flick of the same name) is elegantly both pensive and whimsical, with distant overtones of J.S. Bach and Spanish music. The loping "Fat Man Blues" features chilling, razor-sharp country blues motifs over an insistent, rolling rhythm.. The Americana-flavored "Radio" has sparse, brittle, plaintive electric chords. The dissonant, virtually industrial "Postcard From NY" is the city itself, crying its own blues. Ribot has élan to spare, but plays only the most essential notes. (Pi Recordings)

Imaginational Anthem Volume 4 is the latest in a series spotlighting contemporary acoustic guitarists of varying backgrounds, with explorations of Anglo-American folk and "American Primitive" styles the unifying aspect. Highlights include William Tyler (of Silver Jews), who contributes a briskly jaunty idyll "Between Radnor and Sunrise"; Aaron Sheppard's congenial, autumnal "We Meet On The Level," and C. Joynes' Elizabethan-flavored "Jemmy Steel." Both these sets share two elusive qualities —brilliance and timelessness. (Tompkins Square)

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