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Friday, April 28, 2017

Tom Verlaine - "Warm and Cool" CD, 1992 (Rykodisc)


Who or what is Tom Verlaine?  For me, one of the more interesting figures to come out of the NYC music scene of the 1970s.  I don't know how he did it, but he somehow made himself as a ghost in a scene that was vivacious and innovative.   I find him to be the essential musician of that time period and place.  Yet, his existence is spirit-like.    Throughout that era and into the 1980s, I couldn't get enough of Verlaine's music.   The solo albums are never bad, but uneven.   "Warm and Cool" is the one Verlaine album that is very different from the rest of his recordings.  For one, it's an instrumental album, but it's a record that doesn't sound like his other recordings.  I can recognize the guitar playing, but the setting is totally different.  

I think a listener now would think the music is David Lynch or something from his world.  "Warm and Cool"  sounds very much like a soundtrack to a very moody film.  The guitar is the main focus, with the bass and drums just supporting the guitarist.  Jazz like with Noir overtures.   For me it has a Hank Marvin (The Shadows) take on darkness.  The melodies are sweet, and Verlaine is very much a strong melody  maker than a riff master.  It's a very clean record and you can visualize Verlaine's fingers on the fretboard.  

The songs here are short except two or three that go up to the six-minute length.   For those who are fans of Television, this is not typical (if I can properly use this word here) of that band's music.  It has a late night approach and although there are places where the music sounds like it was improvised, but I suspect it was well-thought out before the recording.  "Warm and Cool" is exactly what this album sounds like.  And again, I would recommend this album to any Hank Marvin fans out there.