The Fall Of Us All
Steve Tibbetts guitars, percussion, discs
Marc Anderson congas, steel drum, percussion
Marcus Wise tabla
Jim Anton bass
Eric Anderson bass
Mike Olson synthesizer
Claudia Schmidt voice
Rhea Valentine voice
Recorded 1990-1993, St. Paul and Boudhanath
Engineer: Steve Tibbetts
Produced by Steve Tibbetts
The Fall Of Us All was my rite of passage into the Book of Tibbetts. The breadth of “Dzogchen Punks” never fails to bring me back to that first precious experience, buried in the solitude of my room under mounds of headphone-induced absorption. Those polyrhythmic drums snatch the hapless listener up in a fiery kiss of technique and experience, one that bears tender fruit in a ribboned middle passage before bleeding itself dry into renewed life. Even in the absence of those percussive footsteps, one always feels them hovering below the skin like a survival instinct. Every flip of the page reveals a new and enthralling illustration. From the steel-wound tassels of “Full Moon Dogs” to the vocal filigree of “Nyemma,” Tibbetts and his intuitive band members arch their backs like cheetahs across a savannah of fire, each the karmic acrobat of a different dream. Surrounded by such ecstatic unrest, we can only “Roam And Spy” until we board a “Hellbound Train” for an arachnid ride that screeches, wheels grinding, into a brimstone station with all the pop of a balloon at a pin’s tip. Cooler temperatures do give us some reprieve, reaching something close to enlightenment in “Drinking Lesson,” a 12-string solo that hangs itself to dry on the psychological fishhooks of “Burnt Offering.” From solemn reflection to full-on walkabout, these coals reignite in “Travel Alone,” becoming one with mindful synths and boundless articulation—a chakra that hits close to home every time.
An organic beat, arid movement, a spiny electric, and a gust of wind nipping at our heels: these are the essential ingredients of Fall. Immaculately engineered and produced by Tibbetts himself, its sound keeps a foot inside and outside this circle of flesh we call the body, sweeping aside mountains with every circular breath. His craftsmanship draws from, even as it defines, the music. We may be aware of individual granules, but in the end we can only cower in the grand ancestral shadow that awakens before us the moment we press PLAY.
Because this was for years my only Tibbetts album, it is the one I cannot do without. But don’t let that stop you from turning every knob he has set for your inner adventurer to discover.