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Evidence of Humanity

Mike Keneally & Marco Minnemann

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Album Review

Evidence of Humanity is Mike Keneally's chapter in Marco Minneman's insane Normalizer 2 project. Minneman recorded an astonishing (and astonishingly musical!) 51-minute drum solo and gave the multi-tracks to various guitar monsters like Keneally, Trey Gunn, Alex Machacek, and John Czajkowski to compose music to accompany the drum solo. Others started by charting the entire drum solo, analyzing all the polyrhythms, and composing the tracks from there. Since Keneally was recording his exceedingly detailed Scambot 1 album at the same time and didn't want another exceedingly detailed project, he opted for a different approach. For much of it, he basically improvised guitar lines to sections of the solo (sometimes very small sections), so the building blocks for his tracks have a more off-the-cuff feel than the more rigorously composed parts of the others. Keneally then built the tunes and arrangements on those improvisations. The results are amazing, and fans of Keneally's guitar playing will not be disappointed. That's not really a surprise, but what is a surprise is how much this sounds like a straight-up Keneally record as opposed to a collaboration. These songs sound so "Keneally-y" that they wouldn't be out of place on several of his albums, and anyone familiar with his music could easily pick these out as Keneally tracks in a blindfold test.

But the fun doesn't end there. As a bonus, Keneally and Minnemann drove to a small bunker in the desert and recorded an all-new, entirely improvised, nearly hour-long set. It was filmed by several cameras and presented here as a DVD. It too, is amazing. Minnemann may be the best drummer you never heard of, and he and Keneally really connect. Keneally plays guitar and keys live, sometimes simultaneously! It's mostly guitar, though, and there are some pretty astonishing passages. He also contributes overdubbed bass parts on some sections. The Bass session was filmed as well, so whenever a bass overdub starts, Keneally is seen in split screen performing the bass part (great idea!). Mike and Marco were also filmed/recorded on the drive to the session (in the Salton Sea) talking about the project and other fun stuff and that's included to round out the DVD portion. Whether you're a Keneally fan, curious about the Normalizer 2 project, or just crazy about great guitar playing and drumming, Evidence of Humanity is a winner.


Born: 20 December 1961 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Mike Keneally obviously doesn't like to be labeled — he's a bandleader and bandmember, a rock and jazz fusion player, and also an outstanding guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, and percussionist. Taking up keyboards at age five, Keneally's life changed when he moved from New York to California in 1970 and heard Frank Zappa for the first time at age ten. Woodshedding for the next 15 years as a self-taught guitarist, Keneally formed a band called Drop Control in his hometown of San Diego in 1985...
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Evidence of Humanity, Mike Keneally
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