Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mumpbeak by Roy Powell

Mumpbeak. If you think
the name is a riddle, just
wait for the music.

As inscrutable as its name, Mumpbeak is the latest solo effort from Roy Powell, keyboardist extraordinaire. I may be wrong in calling it a solo effort because everywhere else the album is presented as the self-titled debut of the group Mumpbeak. But I really see this as Powell's vehicle. Riding with him are Pat Mastelotto on drums and a bevy of bassists: Tony Levin, Lorenzo Feliciati, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, and Bill Laswell who also produced the album. (Obviously, not every bassist played on each track.)

Mumpbeak consists of seven tracks: Biscuit, Forelock, Monocle, Nork, Oak, Chain, and Piehole. On each track Powell's Hohner Clavinet (think Stevie Wonder or checkout this brief video) is front and center but only after application of effects that let it fill the lead guitar role but with a sound that's anything but usual. And this is where the commonality of the seven tracks ends.

The trip Powell takes us on is one of experimental progressive rock. The experiment centers on the clavinet+fx. Progressive because some of the tunes (Forelock, for example) could've come directly from a Stick Men album. Others (Chain especially) echo late 1960s psychedelia. And others like Monocle have a decidedly jazz fusion feel.

Here: listen to Biscuit for yourself.

Combine Mumpbeak with Powell's other recent work with InterStatic and Naked Truth and he's got my attention. If you enjoy music that pushes the boundaries of a genre and a musician with an impressive versatility, Roy Powell's Mumpbeak is for you.

The album's website is and Roy Powell's YouTube channel is Mumpbeak is available from Rare Noise Records.

The websites of other contributors to Mumpbeak are:
P.S. I'm pretty good with the Google and could find no clue as to the origin of the word mumpbeak.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review. Rare Noise records shared one track from the album with me prior to the album's release. This is review is based on the CD that I purchased.


RareNoiseRecords said...

Thank you John!

John said...

The pleasure was all mine. I know what I like but often struggle to explain why.