Combinator came to my attention about a month ago with their latest release; Re//Combinator, the third official studio album I am currently listening to for the second time. After my first, things I have heard were convincing enough to become a follower of such an impressive artist, one-man orchestra, phenomenal bass player, composer, and producer, Sean Fairchild.
Never been a big fan of instrumental music in my life, yet always appreciated and spent a long time listening to John Petrucci, Marco Sfogli, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Al Di Meola, and Eric Johnson records as a music enthusiast and a guitar player. Sean Fairchild’s Combinator gave me the same feeling, reminded me of another bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan with his style and musicianship level.
I have a feeling that Re//Combinator was born with the bass guitar partitions and demos Sean Fairchild recorded through the years in his recording setup. Some of these materials became songs that I would play for someone just to show “how a badass bass player record would sound like” whereas some songs have more experimentation compared to others. Combinator is also showing off with their approach to a song that got worldwide recognition with its pitch correction usage on vocals, Hide and Seek, by Imogen Heap. I am not sure of this, but have a feeling that he turned everything around and made another song from those pieces, things like reversing the entire song, then playing those partitions yourself and singing a melody in the same style, etc, etc… things that genius people usually do.
Musically, Re//Combinator deserves appreciation from start to finish, in my book, it is a bass player diary masterclass. Sean Fairchild has influences from a variety of different styles such as vintage prog-rock, jazz, fusion, pop, commercial, and post-rock which might sound overly honest for some listeners. Appears to me that there were no boundaries or rules from the beginning, but just Sean Fairchild’s pure creativity.
Technically, the album earns all the respect in my world for its professionalism, simply has similar standards with other worldwide respected artists such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Billy Sheehan. They always meant so much to me all my life, and that’s how I see Sean Fairchild and his work as well. After hearing all the virtuosity captured in the Re//Combinator album, I unconsciously imagined him in my band as a bass player, and am crystal clear that I am not alone. He reminded me of George Michael with his vocals, Billy Sheehan with his bass playing, Tosin Abasi with his partitions, and Joe Satriani with his composership.
Re//combinator blends the variety of styles in a modern and electronic way, with no place for anything amateur in its DNA. Songs were written and recorded as full band performances, you don’t feel like listening to the record of just a great bass player, rather it plays like a post/prog-rock band.
Lastly, I have to admit that Things That Should Be is probably the most creative and artistic video I have seen with almost zero budget for its filming. Even though all these recordings weren’t professionally handled – or it was just me who was guided to think that way on purpose by some genius behind the project – the outcome deserves all the appreciation for such impressive work.