Reviews of Things Behind the Sun

On his fifth album, Durant creates a marvelous pastiche of the tones and textures explored on his previous recordings, while generally framing them in more harmonically complex structures. Accompanied by upright electric bassist Tony Levin and drummer Vinny Sabatino (with woodwind player Joe Cunningham on one track), Durant lays down gentle, but compelling chord sequences and polyrhythmic “mallet” patterns—played on a guitar synth and processed with a Lexicon Vortex—over which he plays melodies and solos. The beautifully rich and warm guitar tones—whether clean and jazzy-sounding or highly saturated with distortion—provide the emotional impetus for the compositions, enhanced by atmospheric “cloud” guitars and other ambient touches. Highlights include “They Left by the Water,” on which Durant’s guitar follows the microtonal inflections of Cunningham’s “frula” lines; and the “duduk” guitar-synth solo on “Labyrinth of the World.” Alchemy. —Barry Cleveland, Guitar Player Magazine

Abandoning, for the most part, his more ambient-like textural side, electric guitarist Jon Durant, joined by drummer Vinny Sabatino and upright bassist Ton Levin, has gone for the virtual jugular with a more muscular and jazz/rock fusion approach in both melody and rhythm on Things Behind The Sun. Filled with a combination of blistering leads (such as on the fiery opener "Last Night It Rained") and more restrained yet still powerful approach (such as on "Dangerous Territory" which also contains some of Durant's always delicious cloud guitar, weaving wispy clouds of electric ambience). On all seven tracks on the CD, Durant is, as usual, more than happy to step aside and allow his accompanists to share in the limelight at times. However, this is still the most straightforward "guitar" recording I have ever heard from the artist. There are tasty blues-jazz licks on "Dangerous Territory," delightful and haunting world fusion (courtesy of "vortex mallets" and "duduk guitar") on "Labyrinth of the World" that builds into a rollicking combination of pulsing beats, trap kit drumming, and soaring leads, counterbalanced by the expressive, plaintive and exotic sound of the "duduk" (a "real" duduk is an Armenian wooden wind instrument with a rich warm sound).

The most ambitious piece on the album (and my favorite, although "Dangerous Territory comes close) is the ten-minute long "An Afternoon Entangled" on which Durant stretches out, playing a wider assortment of instruments than normal: guitars, cloud cello, guitar synth, mallets, and piano. The song is breath-taking, most notably when Durant breaks out the cloud cello, synths (strings) and mallets, the music painting portraits of beautiful yet barren landscapes and indistinct patterns woven in a gray sky by broken clouds. Later in the track, when the rhythm section powers up and Durant assumes a more powerful amped-up style of guitar playing, it's like finding yourself traveling at high speed down twisting, turning roads. On the last track, "They Left by the Water," Durant is joined by only Joe Cunningham playing a wind instrument known as a "frula" and it's a perfect closing track, adrift with the frula's lilting tones floating over the swirling drones of Durant's cloud guitar set against delicate straight-up guitar mastery.

When I emailed the artist recently, Durant offered an opinion that the sound on this CD is like that on the impressionistic jazz label ECM. While I heard echoes of early Shadowfax (a world and jazz fusion ensemble) upon first hearing this album, on further reflection, I am inclined to agree with him. Durant and company are much more "impressionistic" in their music, their playing is leaner, more angular, less concerned with "mood" and more concerned with raw emotion, even when the music is not necessarily in-your-face. While I don't find anything on this CD to be inaccessible, it is also not as user-friendly as Shadowfax's fusion recordings were. Durant, Sabatino, and Levin ask, or even demand, that you pay a lot of attention to their work, with the reward being long-term enjoyment of the recording's many pleasures.

Encompassing moments of quiet grace (such as the opening interplay between Levin and Durant on "A Map of Tenderness") or assuming an air of dark humor and slightly off-kilter melodicism (the mysterioso carnival-like "Chateaneuf du Pape" that spirals into a jaunty jazzy Pat Metheny-on-steroids tune), this trio is not interested in taking the listener anywhere ordinary, preferring to strike out boldly, even brashly, daring you to stop listening, knowing that curiosity will keep the adventurous souls glued to their stereos. And, with Things Behind The Sun in the CD changer, that's a damn fine place to be. For jazz fusion lovers hungry for something tasty yet never pedestrian in flavor, this album comes strongly recommended.
—Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire

Much like Brian Eno's watershed Music for Airports this is a disc that paints pensive aural pictures with space, minimalism and billowy dreamscapes. While each of the seven compositions has its own shape and focus, there's a pervasive thread of peace and tranquility running between them.

Jon Durant is a master guitarist able to create this alternate and surreal world with his tasteful use of electronic effects, subtle string bends and trills, multi-tracked ambient sounds and rich arpeggios and chordal textures. He's joined by the omni-present Tony Levin on upright bass and Vinny Sabatino on drums.

Particularly noteworthy are several tunes featuring fine duet passages by Durant and Levin, the guitarist's equal dexterity on African kalimba-like vibes and Sabatino's always appropriate and supportive cymbal and snare drum work. —Eric Harabadian, Progression Magazine

Described as minimalist guitar music, Things Behind The Sun, the fifth solo album from Jon Durant is actually a soaring progressive masterpiece of full blown symphonic guitar excursions. Assisted by the great Tony Levin (electric upright bass) and Vinnie Sabatino (drums), Durant achieves a stellar mix of jazzy rock and ECM style musical moods on Things Behind The Sun. Recorded in between Durant’s production and film score work, Things Behind The Sun offers a superbly recorded round of futuristic, groundbreaking guitar techniques with Durant masterfully performing on guitars, cloud guitar, duduk guitar and guitar synth. An artist currently being produced by Jon Durant, his his older brother Kingsley Durant, recorded and released his 2004 CD Away From The Water on Alchemy Records. Compared to Jon Durant’s electronic soundscapes, Kingsley’s Away From The Water favors acoustic guitar instrumentals (with the occasional vocal and electric guitar) in the spirit of Michael Hedges, Pat Metheny and Eric Johnson, who Durant covers on “When The Sun Meets The Sky”. With assistance from Jon Durant, Vinny Sabatino and Viktor Krauss on acoustic bass Away From The Water is a most atmospheric acoustic guitar sojourn. —Robert Silverstein, 20th Century Guitar,

Reviews of Brief Light

Listen to Jon Durant’s latest album, Brief Light, and you might think its collection of richly textured soundscapes was created by means of artful layering of keyboards, Then you realize that the dominant instrument here is actually guitar. This is guitar as paintbrush; by employing a unique arsenal of instruments, including electric guitar, cloud guitar and filter guitar, over loops and repetitive rhythms, Durant has crafted a series of impressionistic aural paintings. Several highly regarded collaborators, including bass and stick master Tony Levin, percussionist Vinny Sabatino, pianist Michael Whalen, and renowned guitar-synthesizer player Randy Roos are on board to provide further coloration to the sonic palette.

On "River," gongs ring out over layers of tribal percussion with Durant’s wailing guitar soaring over it all, while on the majestic "Rosemary" Whalen’s piano complements Durant’s synthetic mallet work. The album’s centerpiece, the nearly 10-minute-long "Behind Stone Walls," features a hypnotic, mesmerizing filtered guitar rhythm with Levin’s stick prowling beneath the surface and Durant’s guitar building in intensity on top. On the closer, "Friday (later)," Durant and Roos create a series of gracefully shifting, atmospheric passages that gradually fade away into nothingness.

Brief Light is an exquisite, continually fascinating album by an artist who is expert at shaping sound in evocative and multi-dimensional ways. It is well worth experiencing.
-Jazz Times Magazine

JON DURANT: Brief Light
2001 (CD: 46:28); Alchemy ALCD 1019
Style: Progressive ambient
Sound: **** Composition: ***-1/2 Musicianship: ***-1/2
Performance: **** Total rating: 15
If meteorologists had a command of the weather like Jon Durant has a command of atmospherics, there would be a lot less scientific guessing. It's only natural then that Durant's musical arsenal revolves around "cloud guitars," along with synthetic tuned percussion, piano and gong ensemble.

Durant specializes in creating wonderfully evocative, pastoral pieces that will appeal to fans of Michael Brook, Robert Fripp and David Torn (the latter having also mastered this CD). But Durant also brings to mind Patrick O'Hearn (_Rosemary_) and Group 87 (_River_), similar acts who have infused very textural streams with their rhythmic imagination.

Helped out primarily by Tony Levin on (bass or stick), Michael Whalen (piano), Vinny Sabatino (drums and percussion) and Randy Roos (guitar synthesis, on the final track), Durant takes a zen-like approach to his music, showing what is NOT played is almost as important as what is.

Where other musicians play musical bars, Durant plays isobars -- stretching sustained notes into the stratosphere, letting the music fall like rain on hot steaming pavement. It's a joy to behold.

Mark Newman, Progressions Magazine

Textural music has a wide embrace. For Jon Durant, guitarist and owner of the Cohasset-based Alchemy label, it’s often a swirl of sonic pastels that blends new age’s passive melodicism with the rhythmic anarchy of King Crimson and the slow evolutionary nature of Brian Eno.

Which makes this album, where he’s joined by Crimson bassist Tony Levin and guitarist Randy Roos, among others, quite utilitarian. Music heads can focus on the weave of Levin’s thunder-deep bass and the odd-job steel-pan-like percussion on 'River' as Durant’s guitar sails across the top like a hot breeze. Or they can slip into a reverie listening to the tranquil skyscapes of 'In Her Memories, She Floats.' The less obsessive can simply let the disc play in the background as a soothing partner to work or relaxation. And that’s no insult. The painstaking effort Durant has made in composing these numbers and carefully layering their sounds is obvious. His is the kind of deft craftsmanship that requires study to appreciate, since it’s so easy to ignore as these nine tracks flow efficiently by.
- TED DROZDOWSKI, Boston Phoenix

For his latest album, Brief Light, guitarist Jon Durant brought in some heavyweight talent: bassist Tony Levin, pianist Michael Whalen, drummer/percussionist Vinnie Sabatino and fellow guitarist Randy Roos. It would be hard to imagine these extremely talented artists getting together and making a bad album. And guess what? They didn't. Brief Light is the best music Jon Durant's ever recorded. In addition, some tracks introduce some interesting new wrinkles in Jon's composing abilities, as well as reinforcing his impressive command of the instrument he calls "cloud guitar."

The ethnic percussion that opens the first cut, "Persimmon," threw me for a loop when I first heard it. I flashed on, of all things, Robert Rich's Rainforest. The gamelan comparisons (which are the result of, I believe, Jon on "synthetic tuned percussion") are clearly justified, but blending them with Levin's thumping bass and Durant's muted cloud guitar in the background, along with exotic hand drum work by Sabatino, produces a fascinating and highly enjoyable opening track. On the next song, "Rosemary," the album travels in more familiar Durant territory. Forlorn guitar notes peal out sadly, balanced by equally sedate piano from Whalen. Jon also adds some synthetic mallets (i.e. vibes) to lend the song a touch of Tim Story-like melancholy. This is yet another strong cut.

Actually, I don't hear a weak song on this album. Those gamelan influences and textures re-emerge (courtesy Jon's gong playing) on the wonderful "River," again counterbalanced by guitar, although this time Durant's primary instrument is played more forcefully. The rhythms on this song are sensual and earthy, but the darker and more overt style of the guitar playing produces a curious juxtaposition between tribal eroticism and modern-day soaring electric guitar flights. When Jon cranks up his guitar, it's something to hear. He makes it scream in places on this cut.

Clocking in at 9:44, "Behind Stone Walls" is the longest track on the CD. It opens in a series of what sounds like (but isn't) sequenced notes from a synthesizer. As Levin and Sabatino enter the song, and Jon's guitar starts to manifest itself, the track settles into a solid prog rock-like rhythm and melodic sensibility. Two of my favorite songs on the album are somber exercises colored with regret and muted pain: "In Her Memories, She Floats" and "Friday (later)" (which closes the recording). Randy Roos' one appearance on the album is on the latter cut (he plays guitar synthesis). On "In Her Memories, She Floats," Michael Whalen's piano mirrors the sad notes from Jon's guitar as they cry out, softly yet sharply, in an emotionally laden style. "Friday (later)," comes the closest of any cut on the CD to approaching an ambient sensibility. Once again, comparisons to Tim Story may spring to the minds of adroit listeners. Roos adds some nice spacy textures to the song while Jon layers his guitar work with subtlety and expert technique. The song fairly drips with sorrow, but has nary a trace of melodrama. It's a mature composition which illuminates an emotional path for the listener to walk but without dragging him or her down it.

Blending the rhythmic (and world fusion-flavored, at times) pieces on Brief Light with more subdued tracks, such as the last one, is what convinced me that this is Jon Durant's most accomplished and provocative recording yet. I have listened to it about ten times and haven't even scratched the surface of appreciation for what lies in its "virtual grooves." Once again, the cloud guitarist makes it clear that he is not interested in following where others have traveled, but instead seeks to blaze still more new trails into unexplored guitar soundscapes. Highly recommended!
—Wind and Wire Magazine

This is a fairly interesting CD by guitarist Jon Durant and several guests (most notably, Tony Levin) playing what could be described as ambient tribal music and sometimes just ambient music. The music reminds me a lot of a more laid-back Brian Eno circa Another Green World, both in composition and Durant's use of distinct guitar textures called "cloud guitar" and "filter guitar." Some of the ambient tribal-type moments of 80's Crimson are a good reference point, too.

In addition to Levin, Durant fleshes out the sound with Vinny Sabatino (percussion), Michael Whalen (keyboards), and Randy Roos (guitar synthesis), who are all equally able musicians. However, the real star of the CD is Durant's compositional ability. He has a knack for creating a subdued but interesting layers of sound over a hypnotic rhythm. So, unsurprisingly, the music seems to be at its best when it's propelled along by a rhythmic ostinato such as the gongs in "River" or the mallet percussion in "Persimmon." On the other hand, the music seems to slightly falter without this underlying base ("Rosemary" almost approaches easy-listening material), but fortunately these missteps are few. The standout track is probably the 10-minute "Behind Stone Walls," which features a Crimson-like, multi-guitar ostinato that propels the piece through all of its kaleidoscopic variations. The title track is also quite mesmerizing, but on a smaller scale.

In short, "Brief Light" is a very good CD of hypnotic, well-done music. I would recommend it to all parties interested in the sound.
~Jon Dharma Murphree~,

Reviews of Anatomy of a Wish

Cloud guitarist Jon Durant sheds some of the electronic effects he's known for on his new disc. But even though it finds him favoring cleaner, more traditional guitar sounds, his compositional approach remains anything but. Durant remains committed to letting listeners make the connections between his genre-proof pieces that treat rock, fusion, ambient end electronic influences as mere pastels on a larger conceptual canvas. The all-instrumental effort focuses on space-whether between notes, sounds, atmospheres or interplay with collaborators including bassists Tony Levin and Michael Manring, and percussionist Vinny Sabatino. The 12 minute plus "Minaret" is a highlight that displays the interactive, improvisational vocabulary Durant has built up with Sabatino and Levin. During the mini-epic, the three play off each other with pulsing energy that slowly builds up into some impressive crescendos. It's one of the most interesting pieces Durant's created to date and is worth the price of admission alone. Like his previous efforts, Anatomy isn't about pretense or grandstanding. It's about emotional purpose and outcome. "Opening The Blue Box" is an example of that philosophy in action. It showcases Durant at his most aggressive, with hard-edged, blazing fretwork that reminds listeners of just how nasty he can get when required by his muse.
-Anil Prasad, Innerviews

Jon Durant is at it again. The self-proclaimed practitioner of "cloud guitar" has recorded a great follow-up to his earlier album, Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero. Once again, he has combined swirling dark ambient guitars with more firey passages to produce a release of beauty and menace. He is joined by a stellar cast of accompanists, in particular, Vinny Sabatino on drums and percussion. Vinny's hand percussion on the album opener, "Stretching the Night Sky" is fantastic! Also on hand are Tony Levin on bass and Chapman Stick, and the omnipresent Michael Manring (when does this guy sleep?) on fretless bass on one cut.

Jon's music is always about subtlety, and as such, should be listened to intently. This is not ambient music, despite the lack of traditional pop or melodic structure. On "Driving North," Manring is immediately identifiable, but once again, it's Sabatino's exotic hand percussion that anchors the song in deep ambient territory. When Jon's sparing lead lines enter the song, everybody starts simmering away, as the song paints a languid sonic picture.

The short "What Mattered Once" is an all-too-brief (at two minutes) mood piece and leads into "Sirocco," an album high point (which is relatively speaking since the whole album is great). Tribal rhythms spiral tightly around Jon's wonderful liquid guitar as the song stretches out deliciously. Crowing the midpoint of the album is the almost-thirteen minute "Minaret." The guitar cries out, the percussion beats out sensual polyrhythms, and the bass anchors it all, churning away in the background. It's just a killer song--no two ways about it.

Featuring everything from a gentle drifting cut ("Anatomy of a Wish"), to crunchy guitar ("Opening the Blue Box"_ to the album closer, a tragically beautiful song called "The Day that Never Was" (think Tim Story on guitar), Jon Durant shows again the he is possessed of both chops and brains. Quite a lethal combination. Highly recommended.
-Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire Magazine.

Anatomy is a surprisingly quiet disc, given the heavyweight talent involved. Durant is credited with "abusing" not only standard guitars, but Cloud Guitars, E-bow and harmonic bow, while Tony Levin applies muscle to Stick, bass, and electric Upright Bass. (Michael Manring, no slouch himself in the low-end department, contributes fretless bass to one track, "Driving North.") And Vinny Sabatino all but steals the show with his wonderfully centered, evocative percussion parts.

The disc is immediately very calming; soft cloud guitars over tabla and bowed bass set up a Durant guitar solo, with Fripp-like sustain. Ghost trails of delay, with Sabatino's tabla sounding like udu drums in their sharp, liquid resonance, decorate the track with Manring, while "Imminence" (good headphone piece) has shimmering cloud guitar chords, reminiscent of Greek synthesist Iasos, but darker.

This segues into "What Mattered Once," where Levin's bass establishes an ostinato, with gentle bells and gongs. There's also a Jon Hessell feel to tracks like "Sirocco," where dark clouds hover on the horizon, over what sounds like a drum set played like tabla.

The longest piece (at 12:43), "Minaret," has an edgy guitar solo, with phantom trails of sound burnt into the atmosphere in all directions. Durant's guitar at one point sounds like a long wire recoiling at high speed. The very attractive sound mix of this cut comes to a head around the eight minute mark, where the massed sounds recede into the distance, allowing the bass and percussion to gain the foreground. Durant's lines swirl and lie down to rest in the track's final minutes.

If you have a taste for music that explores the dark regions, and even find comfort in such areas, Anatomy Of A Wish comes highly recommended.
--Progression Magazine

This disc’s spacious low-end work won’t send you to the woodshed—but it demonstrates creative and unexpected approaches to supporting harmonically outside material like guitarist Durant’s. Levin and Manring create hypnotic moods that perfectly complement the ethnic-percussion-heavy grooves, bringing to mind a terrific Peter Gabriel soundtrack that never was.
-Karl Coryat, Bass Player Magazine.

Reviews of Silent Extinction Beyond The Zero

Jon Durant goes far to prove that ambient music is not the warm milk bath that new-agers want to restrict the genre to. Silent features layer upon crafted layer of guitar colors, gritty-distorted and clean, augmented by keening whammy machinations, frenetic flights of virtuosity, and icy effect treatments. All elements combine to a music that is essentially "ambient" for lack of a better term, but could better be described as "progressively textural" under the guitarist's skilled sensibilities. Durant's guitar brushwork is limited to largely amelodic and atmospheric strokes, truncated gestures and flatlined linear contours, but his atmospheres remain more distilled and bracing than the cloyingly soporific and narcotic moods of new age. It may not be pretty, but it's often starkly beautiful. As a bonus, bass/Stick virtuoso Tony Levin appears on two tracks.
-Jon Chappell, Guitar Magazine

Mega-processed ambient washes and serpentine melodies emanating from the King Crimson/David Torn quadrant (no surprise, since Tony Levin appears on a couple cuts and Torn mixed the disc). But Durant is his own man--one with fresh signal processing ideas and wicked E-Bow technique.
-Joe Gore,
Guitar Player Magazine

Though many mainstream listeners will find the work somewhat remote, more adventurous folks will find Jon Durant's Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero (Alchemy ALCD 1012; 54:03) an endlessly interesting, rich sonic cycle in the tradition of art rockers like Peter Gabriel and Laurie Anderson, and craftsmen of the eerie Angelo Badalamenti school. The album opens with an elemental, sonic meditation recalling Gabriel's "Passion" - "Crossing Zero," packed with tribal drums, dark chords and guitar effects that cry out and scream. Durant's pieces are built on moods and dynamics - alternately jarring and absorbing. Where "Tears Trickle Down" is visually evocative and mellow with its singing bass, "Clutching Razors" has a dark, foreboding rock beat and feel. Durant executes mini-epics like the twisting, multi-faceted "Three Things No One Knew" on guitar, as well as self-described "ugly bass" and "sonic mayhem" - listen and you'll understand what he means. The effect is a searching song cycle, which though more textural than melodic, will prove ultimately uplifting for those willing to stick with it.
-Hillarie Gray, JazzTimes Magazine

As the brains and braun behind Alchemy Records, guitarist Jon Durant has been responsible for releasing a wide variety of genre-blurring music. It's clear working directly with Alchemy artists and cohorts as diverse as David Torn, Gary Willis, Leni Stern and Robbie Aceto has influenced his own sound. Silent Extinction is an expansive and mature effort that proudly spits in the eye of conformity - such is the luxury of having your own label. The disc finds Durant's liquid guitar flowing across a wide variety of sonic realms including ambient planes, sandpapered surfaces and stormy shores. Along for the ride are uberbassist Tony Levin and drummer Vinny Sabatino who infuse several tracks with their virtuoso rhythm thing. But more impressive is the fact that the remaining cuts find Durant flying solo in multi-instrumentalist mode. They're no less intriguing and spirited than the ensemble pieces and blend seamlessly and cohesively with the rest of the disc.
-Anil Prasad, Innerviews

Cool, very cool. If you like David Torn, Michael Brook, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Eno, Steve Tibbetts, Steve Hackett each at their infinite guitar, textural guitar, "cloud guitar", guitar soundscaping, reverby, echo delay, loops, sustainesque best . . . then Jon Durant is for you. I immediately got into this CD. The nine tracks are atmospheric, upbeat Levin/Manring jazzy, Torn funky, Brook spaced and Eno visioned masterpieces. This is the BEST collection of this type of guitar work I have ever heard. I have stuff by all the aforementioned artists but now I have found a guitarist in this vein that is never overdone, not caustic nor vapid, not repetitive nor too "out there". This album is just done so -- so very well. Call it a Windham Hill or ECM feel to it or that Mark Isham sensitivity as in his Vapor Drawings -- I can't quite coin the phrase but the gestalt, the ambience, is warm but stainless steel sheen. My favorite fusion-edged, "Dance of Maya"-like song is "Danger Boy" which rocks and screams endlessly down the twisted, tortured corridors of Durant's mind. He can do a whole album of jams like this. His playing is solid, ripping, sailing through, bizarre scales and then floating off on quicksilver seas only to come back like hornets on a mission of no mercy. Oh just buy this gem!! I need say no more.

Tony Levin on bass and stick, Vinny Sabatino on drums and percussives, with Harrison Durant on vocal assertion guest here and there on mainly a one-man offering that will stand the test of time. Thanks Jon for jumping into the fray. Extreme, high recommendations on this one!

-- John W. Patterson

Guitarist Jon Durant is part of that new generation of guitarist who were inspired by Hendrix and Fripp, but whose sound is quite contemporary, in no way retro. Those aspects distinguish his album Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero (54:03, Alchemy ALCD 1012). Like Rypdal, Torn, Belew and a host of others, Durant seeks out sounds that are colorful and new, and guitar gestures which have nothing to do with rock or jazz cliches. The colorful guitar sounds are couched in swathes of atmospheric textures. In this regard, Brian Eno is clearly a source of inspiration, even down to terms such as "cloud guitars," "ugly bass" and "sonic mayhem" in the credits.

It is difficult to imagine this work existing without Eno's ambient music and collaborations with the likes of Fripp and David Byrne as forerunners, if not in style, then certainly in aesthetics. Fripp is an especially important inspiration to Durant. In fact, many of the timbres and basic compositional approach derives from Fripp's work in the '90s. A clear indicator of both Durant's musical mind set and his musical chops is the presence of Tony Levin on Chapman stick and electric upright bass. This has got to be one of Alchemy's finest releases.
-Dean Suzuki, Progression Magazine

Guitarist Jon Durant makes music that is hard to define. On Silent Extinction Beyond The Zero he paints your ear drums with sonic graffiti that speaks to your subconscious emotions more than your conscious mind. His music is very ethereal and is a great vehicle for those who like to escape from reality by listening to ambient music.
Bassist and Stick player Tony Levin appears on two of the CD's 9 tracks, and his playing is creative and his technique is flawless. Best of all, you can easily hear Tony's parts because the fidelity of this CD is excellent. If you are a fan of Tony's playing, or you just love music that is extremely left of center, you should give this CD a listen.
- Bass Frontiers Magazine

If you like daring, experimental guitar of the Fripp/Belew/Torn kind, then check out this disc instantly. Durant's a master of floating "cloud guitars," an effect he achieves via a phalanx of delays, choruses, and other hi-tech signal processors. Pale chordal washes float in and out of the mix, creating an ethereal backdrop, while he occasionally chimes in with howling lead lines, as in the dramatic opener, "Crossing Zero." King Crimson bassist/Stick player Tony Levin guests on two tracks. Four guitars.
-Pete Prown, Guitar Shop Magazine

Jon Durant's guitar stretches and climbs all over the stratosphere, showing a soft ambient side on cuts like "Easter" or "Hope" and a hard-edged aggressive style on "Crossing Zero" or "Clutching Razors." Durant composed and improvised on his guitar, recording many tracks solo. In some cases, the bass, guitar and drums play off each other in a powerful way. On other cuts, a reverse of the usual method was employed, with his guitar tracks being created first, the other percussion and bass layered on top. The result is a free-flowing set of melodies which seem to float, twisting and turning, rather than being anchored in the rhythm section and filling in the leads. A far different flavor from fingerstyle guitar, more often resembling the sound and feel of electric violin in its tonal quality. He can take off as if he were beginning a blues, rock or fusion riff, and end up somewhere totally different. Claiming a space in the spectrum of music far apart from other contemporary guitarists, Durant delivers an album of intriguing textures and moods, dramatic and delirious.
-New Age Voice Magazine

Jon Durant, composer, musician and recording engineer has redefined the meanings of ambient and transportive in his brilliant new album Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero.

With the able assistance of Vinny Sabatino on percussion and Tony Levin on bass, guitarist Jon Durant has put together an outstanding tour-de-force of musical talent. And this assemblage is playing nine of Jon's original compositions...that are the heart and soul of this album.

For approximately 51 minutes, this reviewer's ability to meditate was greatly enhanced by Mr. Durant' s flowing musical poetry. At times intense, while at other times "floating", Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero provided me with ambience that allowed my mind freedom to drift unfettered.

And that leads to the other big plus of Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero, its ability to transport the listener to other, and often better places. I kicked back and felt like a soaring eagle looking down over glorious mountains, deep purple canyons and verdant plains.

Mr. Durant's music is pleasantly complex in that each phrase is textured and styled. The mixing and engineering techniques are superb, adding the perfect, professional luster to this tribute to peace and hopefulness.

If you are seeking an album that will allow you insight into your own psyche, look no further. Jon Durant has given us an innovative and often haunting recording. More than that, this reviewer found Silent Extinction Beyond the Zero to be a soundscape of therapy. In my opinion, this is an album that you will listen to over and over again and revel in its glory!
-Metaphysical Reviews

Reviews of Jon Durants's debut, "Three if By Air" (ALCD 1005), also available from Alchemy Records.

"In the liner notes to his debut, Durant thanks his heroes-David Torn, Robert Fripp, Allan Holdsworth, Bill Frisell, Terje Rypdal, etc.-preparing you for the delicate but disturbed instrumental passages that await within. This boston-area guitarist weaves dark, gossamer chords (with heavy processing) to create textures reminiscent of the '70s fusion sound created on the noted ECM label. In similar fashion, "Three If By Air" is elegantly twisted stuff."-Pete Prown, Guitar Shop Magazine, 10/95

"Durant is at his best when dealing with stylistically vague tone poetry, as in the opening cut, truthfully entitled Pale and Crystal, or the more pulsating, quasi-minimalist machinery of "Final Frontiers"... The best is saved for last: Durant floats along notes wrapped in silk-toned distortion à la Robert Fripp or David Torn, on the closing tune "Alien Communication Techniques", an ambient anthem that leaves things up in the air, in the best sense."-Josef Woodard, Musician Magazine, 11/95

Sweeping soundscapes and flowing guitar are the hallmark of Durant's latest outing. Durant's liquid style allows this rock-based instrumental album to function at a variety of levels. Durant's style is never completely out-of-control, but rarely predictable. Whether your mood is serene or psychotic, this album fits the bill. He's referred to the release as his attempt to capture an "ECM chamber music feel." Durant has accomplished much more than that though. This album captures a great deal of intensity and fits into contemporary instrumental currents better than most recent ECM releases. Overall, a fine addition to the collection of anyone into intelligently-crafted music. 4 stars-Anil Prasad, Innerviews 3/96

"I love it! Jon has a fresh approach to the guitar, and his album is an absolute treat."-Leni Stern, Guitarist, Composer.

"Three If By Air is an engaging prance through trance-oriented, jazzy and nasty moods; a wonderful and valued debut by weird-boy artist Jon Durant." -David Torn, Guitarist, Composer.