“Other True Self” by Vernon Reid & Masque

Artist: Vernon Reid & Masque
Title: “Other True Self”
Label: Favored Nations
Release Date: 4/18/2006
Genre: Progressive Instrumental
Rating: 2.5/5

I have to begin by saying that I have not been a fan of Vernon Reid’s guitar playing. He is best known for his work with Living Color, and considered by many to be an excellent guitarist. I have seen him live with Living Color a few times, and even caught him jamming with Santana and I have also owned Living Color CD’s. The operative word is “owned” as I ended up giving them away when I could no longer stand the average songs, disjointed meandering and seemingly pointless solos. I also felt that his guitar sound was the issue for instead of clean and stylish technique the listener got a horrible, buzzy, ratty & abrasive guitar tone. In my opinion the much-vaunted solo on “Cult of Personality” was a buzz saw mass of incomprehensible pointless bullshit.

That being said I actually like this CD. Yet I do still think that his choice of guitar tones sucks. “Hey, Vernon cut back on the distortion”. Big badass guitar sounds are generally lower gain and they sound more upfront and present. Too much distortion sounds thin and distant, and you may like that but honestly; I think it sounds like crap. It’s tinny, raspy and has no real definition but even though I dislike his guitar tone, the songs and arrangements on the CD “Other True Self” are interesting and creative. Barring the bass line on “National Anthem”, which is instead weak, uninspired, and monotonously repetitive.

The Disk blends some bits of blazing Rock, Reggae, Funk and Jazz. Vernon’s playing has more purpose, inspiration and immediacy, in that there seems to be a musical point being made. Once he gets his guitar to speak instead of buzz, he will enter a new realm of playing. I look forward to checking out his next release as I hope that his musical progress will continue. His collaboration with the other musicians of Masque has a chemistry that has helped to create a musically adventurous offering. This CD is a step in the right direction, for a musician with a lot to offer.

Track List:
1. Game Is Rigged
2. National Anthem
3. Flatbuch And Church Revisited
4. Aferika
5. Enjoy The Silence
6. Whiteface
7. Oxossi
8. G
9. Wildlife
10. Overcoming
11. Kizzy
12. Mind Of My Mind
13. Prof. Bebey

Official Web site: www.vernonreid.com

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