The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space
Along with Keefus Ciancia and Jay Bellerose, T Bone Burnett is one of the three musicians responsible for Acoustic Space . But Acoustic Space is not a T Bone Burnett album, nor is it—despite the title—what you might normally think of as acoustic music. It’s also nothing like the Americana with which Burnett is so indelibly associated—he’s only listed on vocals and resonators, not guitar, while Ciancia’s credit list reads action mechanisms and thrums, and Bellerose supplies something called pulse timing circuits. There are words to these seven songs, and they are often evocative, poignant and imbued with mystery, but they serve more as a part of the overall aural scenery than a focal point. Acoustic Space can be harsh—deep drums assault, machines bleat, distortion and dissonance clash with the silent void. The title of track three, “To Beat the Devil,” might suggest a Mötley Crüe or Ozzy tune but, instead, you get the soundtrack for dystopia, the heavily processed lyrics ticking off all that one must do to defeat the demon. (“To beat the devil you must be wise/ There is nothing he can’t trivialize.”) If all of that makes Acoustic Space seem distant, inaccessible or worse, then relax: It’s actually kind of chill. Submitting to the spread these three have concocted (the few guests include jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson) actually demands little of the listener—the music flows easily despite its starkness, and Burnett’s words, opaque as they sometimes are, are carefully chosen and well worth listening for. Longtime fans of T Bone Burnett will have to leave their expectations at the door, but, if they do, they’ll see this really isn’t out of character at all.