Banjo maestro Béla Fleck and his band have spent much of the last few years exploring "bigger is better" territory, piling on overdubs and calling in a posse of like-minded guests. They pull off that highway on The Hidden Land -- which is a decidedly more dirt-road-styled jaunt, filled with high with organic, live-in-the-studio performances of stripped-down songs. Fleck flexes his muscle more robustly here than he has in a while, conjuring up images of Appalachian hill country on the good-timey "Couch Potato," as well as sonic snapshots of more far-flung lands, as he does on "Chennai," which suggests the streets of Calcutta. As ever, the quartet evince bountiful good humor, which is both a blessing and a curse -- on "Subterfuge (Bond)," for instance, they trot out some all-too-obvious 007 riffs. Still, there's no disputing how instinctively these musicians intertwine -- the ensemble work on the Bach fugue that opens the disc is both pitch-perfect and persuasively emotive. And unlike ghosts of prog-rock past, the Flecktones don't rub listeners' noses in the fact that they're being cultured -- they simply set up a sonic buffet and invite 'em to graze to their hearts' content.
Performance CreditsBéla Fleck Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Banjo,Guitar,Electric Banjo
Jeff Coffin Synthesizer,Clarinet,Flute,Keyboards,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Human Whistle,Whistle (Instrument),Bells,sleigh bells,Singing Bowls,Conch Shell,Throat Singing
Victor Wooten Synthesizer,Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,5-string Banjo
Future Man Synthesizer,Drums,Vocals,Synthaxe,Throat Singing,Drumitar,Zendrum
Technical CreditsDavid Bennett Management
Béla Fleck Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Victor Wooten Arranger
Christopher Austopchuk Art Direction
Richard Battaglia Engineer
Robert Battaglia Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Hidden Land based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
After a while, it becomes hard to say anything new about a Bela Fleck and The Flecktones CD. This is a case in point. Most of the tracks are fine; it's just that I can't think of anything I haven't said in other reviews. Subterfuge is an exception. Fleck plays an electric banjo and sounds like an electric guitarist with feedback.