If you like music that challenges the banality of most of today’s boring “all the same” soulless pop offerings, and you hanker for the glory days when artists could experiment and challenge you with something original that doesn’t pander to the usual set of musical rules, then Songs from NowHere by Joe Rhinewine is for you.
Now based in Portland, Oregon Joe Rhinewine is just as interesting as his music. A renowned practising clinical psychologist, Joe’s life journey has taken him from growing up in New York, pursuing a living as a musician but giving that up at 17 years old, to living around the world, becoming fluent in Mandarin and Hebrew, Buddhist Meditation and eventually back to creating eclectic soundscaped songs that feature beautifully layered guitars and retro-styled improvisations.
Joe Rhinewine is influenced by the freedom of expression that artists such as Brian Eno, Robert Fripp / King Crimson, Lou Reed / The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Laurie Anderson and Frank Zappa enjoyed. These were all artists that refused to compromise, often upsetting the faceless A&R Managers at their labels….and they were all the more interesting for it.
Songs from NowHere is a five track CD that invokes the spirit of the great experimenters but brings it bang up to date. Opening track Two Mirrors features dirty overdriven guitar with an almost industrial backbeat. Watching Floaters is an ambient, almost cinematic instrumental that should be featured in the climax of a classic film noir. Too Much uses an infectious vocal sample of the title as if it is an instrument in itself. In the Box (Put It) shows Joe Rhinewine at his humorous best. Funky guitar and a blues rock feel is then complimented by an almost Zappaesque improvised vocal. At one point, Joe implores us to not knock over his ficus plant “as it’s been in his family for generations”. The avant-garde humour mixed in with funky guitars is an outstanding musical achievement. Final track I Am The Spirit that features vocals reminiscent of classic German experimenters Kraftwerk, is a perfect end to an incredibly interesting and pleasurable listening experience.