Living On Another Frequency

Science Faxtion

Mascot Records, 2008

http://www.myspace.com/sciencefaxtion

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/27/2008

There was a certain amount of excitement once I received word that a copy of Science Faxtion was headed towards my home in the Dairy State.  The talents of Buckethead, Bootsy Collins, and Bryan “Brain” Mantia are well known throughout the music industry, and as a rule I support collaboration between great artists, on the chance that great art will ensue.

While the men behind Science Faxtion certainly demonstrate just how very good they are, the final product would never be described as compelling material. The theme of the album, as related by Bootsy Collins, falls along the lines of “that our technology takes over.” It’s an interesting premise that deserves a fresh take, but quite frankly, it is window dressing for Buckethead and Co. to jam to.bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

And what glorious jamming it is, on occasion. It is not difficult to discern who the major stylistic influence was on which tracks. “Famous” has Collins’ fingerprints all over it, laying down a groove that echoes his glory days as one of funk’s major stars. “Fatally Flawed Flesh” allows Buckethead to blast forth at full volume and fury, with Mantia providing solid support as well.

A key weakness that cannot be overlooked is the less than average vocals from Greg Hampton. Considering the instrumental talents that are laid out in front of him, it is disappointing Hampton doesn’t rise to the challenge. He is not a terrible vocalist by any stretch, but there is a decided lack of “wow” moments. In this instance, Science Faxtion could have released their material sans vocalist, and it probably would have been just as effective.

Given the reputation of some of the players involved, it is surprising to take a look at the tracklist and find that only once does a song travel past the five-minute barrier. That is a welcome show of restraint, especially for artists who have demonstrated in the past they are not hesitant to noodle aimlessly for minutes on end. The songs are tight, and find a group that does complement each other well. Unfortunately, that does not change the basic premise that some tracks just don’t cut it.

Whether or not Science Faxtion records again means very little to this record. It is the project of a few like minded individuals getting together, and making music together. Odds are, there will not be a follow up to Living On Another Frequency anytime in the near future. That disappoints me, as this record does not live up to the expectations/talent level of its participants. Another try would be welcomed.

Rating: B-

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© 2008 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mascot Records, and is used for informational purposes only.