Marco Minnemann, “Thoughts Take Shape” (2015): Exclusive Something Else! stream

The ever-versatile Marco Minnemann exchanges the rangy textures of 2014’s EEPS for a more focused mood on the follow up Celebration. As the name implies, and the above exclusive Something Else! stream makes clear, that mood is loud.

Just out via Lazy Bones Recordings, Celebration finds Minnemann once again composing, co-producing (with Scott Schorr) and playing all instruments. For fans of EEPS — a project which broadly expanded our understanding of Marco Minnemann’s music vision — that’s no surprise. Though best known as a drummer with Mike Keneally, Joe Satriani and Steven Wilson, Minnemann showed he could do it all as a true solo artist.

Now, the German-born San Diego-based multi-instrumentalist is showing he can do one thing — heavy rock, with a tinge of cinematic darkness — really well, too. While Celebration is clearly meant to be played at top volume, this isn’t an album without intriguing subtleties.

On “Thoughts Take Shape,” and Celebration in general, you hear pieces of the heavy-fusion sound from Marco Minnemann’s terrific 2013 collaboration with Tony Levin and Jordan Rudress, and whispers of his outside-the-box contributions with Mike Keneally, as well as things you’ve likely never heard from Minnemann before — even if you’ve followed him from the first.

Ultimately, Minnemann brought elements of his style to those recordings — and to a series of well-received concert appearances with Steven Wilson. But only elements. Celebration frames his broader talents, even as he continues to redraw the lines.

Still pushing himself, as you’ll hear on the tasty sample above, Marco Minnemann ended up creating one of his very best solo projects.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso