One moment your life is a stone in you, and the next, a star -- Ranier Maria Rilke
Trey Gunn’s seminal release “The Third Star” re-mastered with six unreleased tracks.
Critics agree that this was the release that found Gunn fully nurturing his personal vision as both a player and a composer. “The Third Star” was written and recorded between his work with David Sylvian and King Crimson.
In addition to the spectacular re-mastering of the original recordings, six bonus tracks are included on this release. The bonus tracks vary in time and instrumentation. Two are relatively new tracks composed and recorded with Gunn’s current instrument – the Warr Guitar. The other tracks utilize the classic Chapman Stick and were recorded in NYC in between the release of “The Third Star” and Gunn’s first solo record “One Thousand Years.” These pieces showcase his early approach to these tapping instruments.
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Trey Gunn not only graduated from Chapman stick player to Warr Guitarist on his 1996 CD The Third Star, but being a member of King Crimson for two years also prepared him to drastically improve over his preceding CD, 1993's One Thousand Years. Having mastered the guitar-bass-stick hybrid instrument in the context of the veteran British band, Gunn plays every melody and bassline on The Third Star.
King Crimson leader Robert Fripp's wife, Toyah, leads a cast of three guest vocalists, but the mostly-instrumental disc primarily involves Gunn and drummer/percussionists Bob Muller and Pat Mastelotto (also a 1994 King Crimson addition). Gunn's deep, growling bassline and Far Eastern melodies set the tone on the opening "Dziban," leading into the 7/4-timed "Symbiotic." Gunn performed with the Fripps in the early 1990s with the group Sunday All Over the World, and this track recalls some of that band's post-New Wave angst through Toyah's impassioned, high-pitched vocals. Muller's versatility between a standard drum kit and Indian tablas and bandirs ("Arrakis," "Sirrah") makes The Third Star even harder to categorize.
Vocalist Alice provides the title track with a backward-sounding chant, as Gunn shows the influence of Robert Fripp through soundscape washes and dreamy chords. Mastelotto's two tracks are the most Crimson-esque - especially the looping "Acquiring Canopus" - but Muller proves to be to Gunn's band what the now-electronic drummer is to King Crimson. "Kuma" and "Indiera" are largely acidic duets between Gunn's melodies and bottom and Muller's drum kit and hand drums. The latter also features Serpentine's guttoral screams, ending The Third Star on a deliciously nightmarish note. For his next CD, 2000's The Joy of Molybdenum, Gunn added guitarist Tony Geballe; by 2001 he'd added another Warr Guitarist in Joe Mendelson.
Between the three futuristic string players and Muller's cross-reference of Eastern and Western drumming, the Trey Gunn Band is poised to erase any of the lines still separating musical genres - and The Third Star foretold it all to anyone who would listen. ~ Bill Meredith
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"Warning! Do not listen to this Trey Gunn record while driving late at night or while operating heavy machinery. A hypnotic-like state may occur and you may be lulled into a trance or might find yourself driving into the sunset until you either run out of gas or out of road, whichever comes first. The sounds on this record are extraordinary!" -- Bass Frontiers
"While some may compare 'The Third Star' to his work with King Crimson, there is a more patient attitude and atmosphere created on this album that maintains an integrity and beauty only found where there is true mastery and creativity. Gunn's got it." -- Rock Pile
"Trey Gunn is a man dedicated to finding every nuance hidden in his instrument. 'The Third Star' is a deep recording, richly layered with his unique style." -- Music Uncovered
"Minimalistic instrumentation, syncopated drumming, unusual female vocal styles and melodies, catchy harmonies, and unique guitar solos strongly characterize this release. The sound is a subtle mix of eccentric rock, noise, and hip-hop. The drums/percussion are one of the strong features in the album, and King Crimson's Pat Mastelotto makes a guest appearance on a couple of tracks. But it is Bob Muller's unique drumming that dominates."
-- Ram Samudrala
Trey Gunn - 8 and 12 string Warr Guitars, Chapman Stick, Vocal
Toyah - Vocal
Alice - Vocal
Serpentine - Vocal
Bob Muller - Drums, Tabla, Bandir, Percussion, Cluster Flutes
Michael D”Agostino - Drums
Pat Mastellotto - Drums, Percussion
5. The Third Star
6. Aquiring Canopus
8. Yad Al-Gawza
11. Demographically Challenged
12. The Fish Are Shimmering Over The Horizon
13. Redder's Gate
14. one minute, a Stone
15. 3x's as Right
17. measured by the Stars