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Music Review: Pat Mastelotto – Recidivate

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Sometimes the greatest music emerges from the most unlikely sources. Pat Mastelotto has been playing the drums professionally since the ’70s. Among musicians, he was a well-regarded session drummer, and has appeared on studio dates for Martin Briley, Holly Knight, Scandal, Al Jarreau, The Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle, Kenny Loggins, Martika, Danny Wilde, and Kim Mitchell. He was a founding member of Mr. Mister, who had radio hits with “Broken Wings,” and “Kyrie,” in the mid-’80s. I remember those songs, but basically lumped the band in with others of the era such as The Hooters, and The Outfield. That was a big mistake, because Pat Mastelotto is an amazing drummer, as the new two-CD Recidivate collection shows in no uncertain terms.

As the previous credits attest to, Mastelotto is obviously at home in just about every style of music. After his tenure in Mr. Mister, Pat went on to play with some of the biggest names in the alternative and mainstream pop rock scenes. Some of these include XTC, The Sugarcubes, Hall & Oates, Cock Robin, The Rembrandts, Jude Cole, Eddie Money, Tina Arena, Matthew Sweet, Julia Fordham, Robyn Hitchcock and David Sylvian. In 1994 he was asked to join King Crimson, and it is their brand of extremely demanding progressive rock that seems to be his true calling. The 42 (!) tracks that make up Recidivate practically define the current sound of prog.

Surprisingly, there are no Crimson songs included on this collection (probably for licensing reasons), but there is plenty of other material to choose from. Mastelotto’s own projects are present, and these include tracks from groups such as KTU, Mastica, BPMM, and MPTU—he seems to like acronyms.

The various tunes from his own bands are high-powered drum showcases, although as group efforts they highlight the other players as well. His work as a drummer with Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) is very impressive. There are three songs from Wilson’s Insurgentes album, and all three are killer remixes and mashes. Mr. Porcupine Tree never sounded quite like this before.

The two discs are divided into “Traps” and “Buttons.” These roughly correspond to “physical” drums, or traps, and electronic drums, or buttons. On both Pat Mastelotto is a master, and this collection is well worth checking out to hear one of the great drummers of our time, doing his thing extraordinarily well.

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About Greg Barbrick