In 2001 Bruce Arnold came out with “Give Em Some” a jazz-rock n funk blast that had critics writing “… a CD of music that is both muscular and intellectual…,” “…Arnold manages to be technically brilliant and emotionally explosive all at once” and “…one of the better jazz/rock/fusion albums I’ve listened to in (let’s say) the last 10 years.”
Since then, Arnold has delved further into the compositional constructs of 20th century classical music, and explored their applications to contemporary improvisation. In addition he has added the formidable palette of SuperColider, an object oriented program that allows him to become his own sound designer. No matter what the musical canvas, in the span of over 20 CDs, from avant-jazz to blues standards to re-interpretations of classical repertoire, he has used these theories and tools to forge fresh new sounds, and a distinctive style that is all his own.
Now Arnold comes roaring back to his love of all-out electric guitar-driven, distortion drenched, high octane music with “Heavy Mental.” But as with all of Arnold’s ventures, this is music with an intellectual backbone. Arnold brings to bear all his investigations into 12-tone theory, hexatonics, and sound collage (using SuperCollider). The application of the theoretical strictures dictates very specific note choices, making Arnold’s sound strikingly unlike any other guitarist in the field. Together with Andy Galore on Bass and drummer Kirk Driscoll he has created a powerful and mature musical statement that satisfies on every level.
In a career that has relentlessly pursued a passion for musical innovation across varied genres, “Heavy Mental” comes full circle in a sense, as Arnold returns to the rock roots that first inspired him as a teenager in South Dakota, to pick up the guitar. “I’ll never stop loving Rock, and I’ll never stop loving the power I feel when I crank up the volume, push the distortion and make some major noise,” says Arnold, “but it’s even cooler to know I’ve got a solid theoretical base holding it all together, in a new way that is all my own. It’s great when people say to me ‘Your stuff sounds familiar, and yet it’s different.’ He grins, “Then I know I’ve succeeded.”
…torrents of white hot, blazing guitar shards that mix blues, rock, and fusion into one terrifying union. — seaoftranquility.org
Bruce was always an avant garde purveyor of the guitar breaking down sonic walls with daredevil acumen but on Heavy Mental, the sound is more guitar-centric jazz-rock fusion ala Terje Rypdal, Satch and Allan Holdsworth…. amazing fully formed fusion outing. — mwe3.com
Arnold has the love of power shred to make the vibe his own reflecting his own passions. Guitar fans can feel free to rejoice. — midwestrecord.com