Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Tom Curren's Ocean Surf Aces - S/Tdot
artworkFluid - that's the most descriptive word for Tom Curren's music. The surf is in the writing and playing, but not in the style. This is NOT surf music, but it is music by and for surfers - there's a major difference. Generally speaking, the CD's music is a blend of country the way hippies hear it, easy rock, light jazz, and new age noodling. It's pretty enough, but relegated to the back burner for ambiance, not the main stage for actual listening. In many respects, it seems like they are shooting for what the Chris Shahin Band actually achieves, but Tom's band misses. The liner boasts of "one take - no overdubs," but with this sort of thing, what would you overdub?
Picks: 7th Reef, Walking Malt Liquor, Rainwater, The Dreaming - Part One, Purple Inside, Tinpan Mission, Happy Feet, The Dreaming - Part Two, The Long Road, Grizzly Bears, The Dreaming -Part Three, Ocean Surf Aces Theme, Do It, Go Figure, Time To Move [Search theme], The Dreaming - Part Four

Track by Track Review

7th Reef dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

This is a gently flowing almost new age noodle fest, picturesque and sensual, light jazz based, and absolutely free of any surf music elements.

Walking Malt Liquor dotdotdot
R&B Jam (Instrumental)

A surfers life is full of strife - polluted waters, waves with no shape, valleys invading "their" beach, and drunken stupors. This addresses the latter. It's R&B based jam session music, only slightly inebriated sounding, and mostly free of melody. The performance is fine, but the effect of the track is background, or end of set jam session we'll-be-right-back break nonsense. Just not interesting or focused.

Rainwater dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

This is a well titled track. The sounds and structure ooze gentle rain. It's very pretty, very drippy, and a nice backtrack to an afternoon gazing out at the drizzle. It's not a main listen, but it is quite pleasant.

The Dreaming - Part One dotdotdot
Eerie Sequence (Instrumental)

This is a short sequence, a mere 45 seconds long. It's sorta swampy eerie, maybe foggy damp.

Purple Inside dotdotdot
R&B Jam (Instrumental)

R&B noodling, jamming light jazz brewski music. harsh, but then it's not very interesting, just a lot of high flying play all the notes in bebop order... kinda boogie to the lounge band. Seems to melt into the other tracks, having no melody to distinguish it from the others. The backbeat has a "Heat Wave" (Martha & the Vandellas) feel to it.

Tinpan Mission dotdotdot
R&B Jam (Instrumental)

R&B, a bit of artsie feedback, and a light weight attack. Again, like the other tracks, it's a jam progression, waiting for a melody to develop.

Happy Feet dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Country lite, swingin' TNN styled, and very pretty. This has more of a melody than most here, and the lap steel is sweetly played, while the country riffs roll off of the ears. This is a nice track.

The Dreaming - Part Two dotdotdot
Eerie Sequence (Instrumental)

The second short sequence, this one a bit longer at 1:42. Like the first part, it is an interlude between tracks, a mood shifter and an ambient scene setter. This is much more interesting than the first part, more spooky.

The Long Road dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

Dinner jazz for take out from Jacques le Beaux. Noodlie, though the piano note dribbling is kinda fun. The rhythms are infectious, and with the faster pace, this is far more interesting than any of the other tracks of this sort here.

Grizzly Bears dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

This is pleasant enough, hinting of the piano sounds of the Younbloods gentler more melodic tracks, but it lacks their charm and beauty. It's a progression jam, but is much more artful than many of the others here, and the bass work is particularly interesting. Groovey.

The Dreaming -Part Three dotdotdot
Eerie Sequence (Instrumental)

A 38 second ghostly interlude, haunting and dark.

Ocean Surf Aces Theme dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

Playful, surf video sequence music. Not very memorable without a video sequence out front.

Do It dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

Not the Pink Fairies great rant, but rather a blues harmonica jam, a skiffle beat, a jumpin' jam. Riff city R&B jam.

Go Figure dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

Disjointed jazzaholic meanderings, piano based, Charles Lloyd wanna be. maybe I just don't appreciate this kinda jazz, but it certainly doesn't do anything for me. It reminds me of warm-up with a high school jazz band, everyone doing different things at once, not playing together, just all making noise at the same time. Ethereal.

Time To Move [Search theme] dotdotdot
New Age Hydroponic (Instrumental)

Light and with a sense of urgency, or maybe just quiet reflection. This is a haunting more than background track, with some sense of melody, but nothing strong. A lap steel peeking out of the background adds a hint of Polynesia or country desert.

The Dreaming - Part Four dotdotdot
Eerie Sequence (Instrumental)

Longer, at 2:45, similarly eerie, this fog shrouded sequence oozes dawn on a marsh. Effective mood setter, fit for a predawn waiting for a raid to begin film scene.