On his new album, “Rusted Heart,” Rob Thomsett tries to track the stages of a human heart. The work is a departure from Thomsett’s previous releases because Thomsett plays most of the instruments himself. The lonely, introspective nature of the work is reflected in the soundscape.
Rob Thomsett and “Rusted Heart”
Rob Thomsett is an Australian musician who is probably best known for his work from the 1970s, “Yaraandoo/Hara.” Thomsett’s brilliant approach to rock/jazz fusion is appreciated by critics and fans alike. But it seems that no matter how good his work, Thomsett, keeps his projects small–small pressings, limited release. Still, his work seems to catch the notice of the right people. It is as though Thomsett is just enough under the radar to earn the respect of music snobs. However, after reading his website, Thomsett’s micro approach has larger implications.
Thomsett seems more concerned with connecting with ardent and loyal fans. On his website, he has CDs to give away to anyone who wants a copy. Those copies are free. All Thomsett wants in return is feedback and for listeners to promise to share his music with friends. “Music is about connecting…” Thomsett writes.
There is something lonely and earnest about Thomsett’s way of connecting with listeners. In contemporary times there exists sometimes a feeling of disconnect. In his unique way, Thomsett appears to address this problem. By giving away free CDs in return for a review and a promise to share it, Thomsett is making new connections in a deeper way.
“The New Heart”
Every song on “The Rusted Heart” is titled with a description of a human heart. The album begins with “The New Heart.” The soundscape is gentle, no drums, or at least they are not used in the usual way. Synthesizers and high-pitched, soft chimes bleat over and over. The synthesizer makes sounds like atmosphere, perhaps like a fetus would hear in utero. The sound is inviting and sweet. And, just like innocence, it is fleeting.
There are 13 songs in this cycle that includes “The Liberated Heart,” “The Angry Heart,” and so on, until at the end of life there arrives “The Rusted Heart.” Not surprisingly, the older, disenfranchised hearts’ songs have more rock elements. Guitars cry, and drums pound, and the human of Thomsett’s imagination grows older.
Thomsett’s concept is interesting and the music is played skillfully. This is jazz fusion done well, and the idea behind it makes listeners think.