1001 Nights has released the album Dennis Young and Ray Bally: Volume I. After joining forces for a couple of well-received live improvised performances in the New York area as a guitar duo, Young and Bally decided to enter the studio. They found a perfect fit at Elizabeth, New Jersey’s 70 Sound Studio run by engineer Marco Pereira. “Marco loved our idea of two guitars live in the room with no overdubs or edits,” Bally says. “He created a great setup for the sound we wanted.”
Dennis Young was a member of the seminal minimalist-funk band Liquid Liquid. Their club smash “Cavern,” propelled by Young’s percussion, became the basis of Grandmaster Flash’s rap classic “White Lines (Don’t Do It).”
Vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist, Ray Bally, trained with the legendary jazz guitarist Bern Nix. Bally has also composed noted scores for independent films.
Dennis Young and Ray Bally: Volume 1 is Denis and Ray’s new live in the studio, no editing, no dubs, all improvisation—collaboration. So forget about conventional song structures, what this album smacks of is freedom, experimentation and a freshness that is sadly lacking in much of today’s music.
Denis and Ray use plenty of effects and technique to display ‘progressive’ overtones all over the place. Producing just the right combo of etherealness, excellent musicianship, and rocking out, to evade the ‘totally weird’ tag. Seven boundless tracks pervade the album: “Metallic Young”, “Planet of Vampires”, “Restless Hymn”, “SQ”, “Comrades March”, “Church Bells” and “Endless You”.
The guitar duo showcase just how refined their technique is. Instead of flashy 30-note-a-second outbursts that so many would-be guitar heroes favor, they lay into the tracks with an effortlessly melodic and flowing soundscape that makes excellent use of tone control and guitar effects. Every song is a dizzying amalgamation of endless guitar sounds.
Any track-by-track commentary on this type of recording would be redundant, suffice to say that this is superior ambient music, chock-full of atmospheric air. To be honest though, these tracks aren’t easily accessible to the uneducated ear, primarily because they don’t serve as easy-to-ignore background music or aural wallpaper like most other ambient work.
It’s not anything that sticks in your head or that you can hum along to. It’s more like being sucked into some audio vortex where your brain is bombarded with too much information to handle.
Dennis Young and Ray Bally: Volume 1 is however an extraordinary listening experience. And if you’re not already familiar with their work, you will discover a whole new world of sound; occasionally intimidating, sometimes difficult, but inexplicably fascinating all the same.