It was a while between albums for Yuval Ron. This album arrived in 2019, some ten years after his previous release with his outfit Residents Of The Future, in 2009. Somewhere In This Universe, Somebody Hits A Drum finds him in more solo mode, although his players do feature noted drummer Marco Minneman, who has played with The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, and others.
Yuval Ron actually started playing the guitar when he was eleven years of age, and progressed through a variety of styles, managing to play as a sideman or band leader in several local groups. This album draws on this musical education that saw him develop a love of progressive rock, fusion, Heavy Metal, and other contemporary music. The results on this album are skewed heavily towards the jazz-fusion end of the spectrum, although there are more than mere hints of other styles along the way.
The opening title track gets off to a rather cinematic start with solo guitar arpeggios and wordless vocals that paint big screen pictures before the drums kick in and prelude the development of the tune into something of a prog bathed fusion work out. It is an atmospheric start, and although the opening vocals are a bit creaky at times, it works.
Even before you realise that The Discovery Of Phoebe is dedicated to the great guitarist Allan Holdsworth, what stands out is the similarity to Holdsworth’s style. Not that Yuval Ron is a copyist as such, but there’s a very obvious influence there. The songs themselves continue to be atmospheric and cinematic with great give and take from all the band members, such as the interplay between Yuval Ron’s guitar lines and the synth work of Matt Paull. Roberto Badoglio’s bass work supports the music really well and he works superbly well in the rhythm section with the remarkable Marco Minnemann. Minnemann seems to have free reign, and there’s plenty of drum rolls and fills throughout the album. In the opening track there’s an almost military style approach on the snare, elsewhere he gives reign to his jazz rock credentials, not least in the closing track I Believe In Astronauts. This is an interesting track. It opens in a very movie-like manner, with keyboard work maybe in the style of Vangelis, then morphing into a full-on fusion piece that has elements of Frank Zappa within it.
Although this is ostensibly a solo album, Yuval Ron doesn’t hog the limelight. All the musicians are allowed the room to perform, interact, displaying their abilities it would appear to the full. The mixing of the album helps here. No instrument is allowed to dominate, they are each given space and clarity within the overall sound. It is in any case an excellently produced album, with a mellowness that seems to reflect the music. It is a reflective yet optimistic album, one of hope rather than pessimism. That makes it a refreshing release.
Overall, then, this is an eclectic album, which although heavily in the jazz-rock area, has lashings of progressive rock, with some thing a little heavier now and again. There’s a strong cinematic feel as well though, that some how counterbalances the more intense fusion elements. This is an intricate album, with nuanced interactions and development. A compelling and always interesting album.
1. Somewhere in This Universe, Somebody Hits a Drum (07:11)
2. Gravitational Lensing (06:43)
3. Kuiper Belt (08:28)
4. WiFi in Emerald City (09:44)
5. The Discovery of Phoebe (09:58)
6. I Believe in Astronauts (09:50)
Yuval Ron / Electric Guitar, Vocals
Matt Paull / Keyboards
Roberto Badoglio / Bass
Marco Minnemann / Drums
Dorin Mandelbaum / Additional Vocals (5)
Label: Wrong Notes Music
Release Date: 3rd October, 2019