First ECM album in eight years from the innovative Minnesota-based guitarist and sound-explorer. As always with Tibbetts, the music is densely layered – “The more you listen, the more you hear” – and also attractive, beguiling. Steve Tibbetts’s music straddles several idioms. The improvisational impulse comes from jazz, the sound colours from rock and world folklore. The enveloping texture and hypnotic quality would now be characterised as “ambient”, although Steve’s musical directions were set long before the term was coined. Behind Tibbetts’s washes of guitar sounds, long-time associates Marc Anderson and Marcus Wise play interlocking drum and tabla rhythms which, together with Jim Anton’s bass, propel the music forward.
Using the studio as laboratory and cloister, Steve Tibbetts crafts highly personal recordings that seem immune from all but a select few influences. A Man About A Horse embodies Tibbetts' established strengths ' feral electric guitar solos, complex percussion and meticulously detailed production. Tracks like 'Black Temple', the album's centerpiece, encompass sonic extremes from delicate atmospheres to furious guitar passages supported by thunderous drumming. ' While Tibbetts' guitars have long been the focal point of his CDs, A Man About A Horse achieves a new balance between drums and strings. The blend of contemplation and catharsis is pretty much what you want and expect from Tibbetts. He calls it 'post-modern neo-primitivism' with tongue presumably in cheek. -Jon Andrews, Downbeat