Steve Jenkins and the Coaxial Flutter: A Case Study in Adventurous Imagination by Kilian Duarte
NYC has long been known for being the home to some of the world’s top bassists. Out of the modern crop of electric virtuosos, Steve Jenkins stands apart from the pack. An impressive technical master with a solid resume in a myriad of different genres, including stints with Vernon Reid (Living Colour) and Dave Fiuczynski in Screaming Headless Torsos, KIF and many other fine artists in a myriad of genres.
His most recent album (Steve Jenkins and the Coaxial Flutter) is a collection of 8 original compositions that comprise the artists first Lp in 8 years. With sounds ranging from ambient reverb laden landscapes, electronic, and even progressive metal, this album is the output of a very creative mind.
“It was recorded at Jrock studios in Manhattan the later part of 2011 at world-class producer Jamie Siegel’s (Lauryn Hill, Taking Back Sunday, Smashing Pumpkins) Jrock Studios located in Manhattan…Overdubs and last few tracks were recorded in early 2012 at Steve’s home studio in Brooklyn, and were brought back to Jrock Studios to be mixed by Siegel. It was mastered by the legendary Scott Hull at Masterdisk…The album features appearances by Vernon Reid, John Shannon, and Chris Buono contributing their forward thinking guitar playing and Gene Lake and Adam Deitch adding their next level drumming to the music.”
Track No. 1- Leave This City While You Can:
Warm synth bass fills your ears followed by lush reverb laden guitar lines that give an ethereal and lush sound to the track. At 1:40 the bass gets nice and gritty with some nice prog element rhythms and energy that change the pace of the tune to a livelier tone. Steve uses a whammy esque pedal to bring his bass into guitar ranges for a great solo at around 2:50.
Track No.2- Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gun fight:
A nice Living Colour esque riff starts the track off with plenty of chunk and pulse. It nicely transitions into some modern fusion flare, with exceptionally tight drumming. The pace amplifies at 2:40 and gets even chunkier with some nice odd time grooving. 3:40 brings a very Tom Morello esque crazy solo that sets this track into overdrive.
Track No.3- How About Never:
A very ambient and lush Portishead style bassline brings us is with touches of flanger. Nice guitar styling make the intro of this track especially warm to the ear and give a nice curveball when the Ala Incubus style B section comes blasting in with guns blazing. From here its grease funk central with some seriously fuzzy bass. A nice finger style solo comes in Ala Matthew Garrison flair with some precise runs. Some seriously fuzzy tones take us back to a rock/funk vibe that leads us all the way out.
A nice Dungeon Dub vibe line gives the listener a deep rich experience that somehow perfectly transitions into a beautiful lush major melody. This type of change up would be jarring in most circumstances but it works exceptionally well in this case. The guitar work is at times a little drowned out by pretty epic reverb, but the vibe of the tune is trying to emulate the “vast” nature of the universe. Some funky bass, and cool production round it off.
I would like to consider this kind of like Universe Pt.2, great electronic production and lush epic bass. Great reverb bass parts with singing guitar follow with a nice pulsing electric beat in the soft foreground. The bass tones sound enormous with very present and precise drumming running the pack.
Some straight up rocking fusion with some tasty solo slap bass work that displays awesome control. Some tasteful bass chordal work layers nicely over the funky groove. Outro similar to a Karma police vibe, which was a nice touch.
Probably most bassist’s new favorite track on this record. This is an insanely clean and intense slap prog flurry that will knock your socks off from start to finish. This one is definitely a “you have to hear it to believe it “tune. Nice lush bridge with chunky guitars up the wazoo equals a good listening experience no doubt.
A nice Djent piece with a tip of the hat to Sweden’s finest.
In conclusion Steve Jenkins and the coaxial flutter is a well conceived and executed piece of instrumental creativity. The engineering is top notch and the playing is nothing short of incredible. The changes can be a bit jarring if one were not familiar with certain elements of prog or fusion, but if you are a fan of these and have an open ear you will enjoy it very much. Hopefully with this new release we will be hearing much more from Steve. In this day and age it can be difficult to take creative risk in an environment that can at times breed a stifling mentality. For fans of something out of the box this record is for you!