I've just given a listen to what just might be the best "new" album of 2002. Dee Long (former Klaatu guitarist, record producer, recording engineer, digital editor [for George Martin's AIR Studios no less!], and computer programmer) has released an album (CD only) on Bullseye Records called "Outside Of Time & Space" which is out of this world (in more ways than one).
While Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney gave birth to the commercially released album of do everything yourself recordings, Dee has taken it another step further than they ever could have imagined. Dee has written a program (the Dee Sampler) to create drum loops and interface with midi controls for professional quality recording that is more limited by your imagination than by your computer. He uses this software for the entire CD, plus plays all instruments himself, produces the album himself, created all the artwork himself, wrote all the songs himself (with the exception of "Time Will Tell" which has lyrics from Sydney Easton and "Good Night Universe" that has some lyrics from Thomson H. James), sang all the lead and backing vocals (except for some chorus harmony from Kelly Daines on "Wait For You") and generally did it all in a way that Wonder and McCartney could never have dreamed of.
The result? A CD that is stunning musically, stunning visually, and stunning in terms of production values. Dee shows that he is a master of his craft on the tracks on this album.
I made some quick notes on each track while listening through the first time.
The Meaning Of Life - a great sounding track. The guitar work is at once reminiscent of both Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler and George Harrison. The vocals are beautiful with lush harmonies. The lyrics? Well, Dee's tantalizing us with the knowledge that HE knows the Meaning Of Life, (but he's not telling) and asks us to contemplate what it might be? Is it fast cars? Is it pop music? Are these just distractions from the real meaning of life? He goes on to tell us that we all know, so is he hinting at some elite group of people or is he telling us that everyone "knows" the meaning of life? I think it's the latter, and he's telling us we need to think about what it is from our personal perspective. This one should be on the radio right now. If it's not, go call your local station and ask them why not!?!
(Make Love In) Zero Gravity - very hypnotic. An experience only Dee and a partner have been able to enjoy? :-)
Mad Magazine - a great tribute to a very funny magazine. Very funny voices repeat "What Me Worry?" throughout the song and really pull you into the track.
Outside - Dream Theater meets Rob Zombie? Heavy, hard and fast, without a moment's rest, and yet far more complex and interesting than anyone else handling the genre. Jimi must be turning over in his grave with envy.
You Are Too Beautiful - Again we've got some beautiful vocals and lush multi-layered harmonies.
Chromosome Syndrone - A nice re-mix and re-edit of the track that Dee debuted for a New Year's Eve webcast on December 31st, 1999. A little harder, a bit catchier, and still just as powerful a message.
Time Will Tell - Talks about the dangers of discouraging free thought and creative thinking. Very reminiscent of 70s rock, and a killer guitar solo at the end. Lyrics are very thought provoking and encouraging, especially if you're one of the people who has been discouraged from lots of things in your life by people who just don't get it.
Collecting Icons - Very strong Jimi Hendrix feel to the guitars on this track. The rest of the track reminds me of Pink Floyd. Now THERE's a combination!
Wait For You - Space travel at light speed meets love story. This is another remix / re-edit / (re-recording?) of a track that Dee debuted for a New Year's Eve webcast on December 31st, 1999. More layered harmonies and haunting backing vocals from Kelly Daines. Lots of space sound effects. The beautiful slide guitar solo at the end is extremely reminiscent of George Harrison.
It's Good - Sounding very much like ELO, Dee's use of swirling multi-part harmonies with phase, loudspeaker vocal effects, and an overall mix that focuses on the vocals, this one is a bit on the bluesy/funky side. A nice track that starts to bring the album to a close.
Good Night Universe - An end to an album or a jumping off point for the next? This is a ballad that sounds more like it belongs on the first Travelling Wilburys album than here. It's got that Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, Jim Keltner feel to it. The harmonies are lush and slightly more varied than on some of the other tracks on the album. In places it's almost like Dee is coyly telling the Universe to say good night to US! (I can hear George Burns now.... "Say Good Night, Universe!" with Gracie replying.... "Good Night Universe")
This album is something to be experienced more than read about. You've got to hear this one to fully grasp just how great it is. Are you Experienced? If not, you can begin the journey right here.
- Dave Bradley, October 14, 2002