The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, May 7, 2010, Music

Ben Livingston

Trust Your Equipment

Known internationally as a neon-light sculptor, Ben Livingston won a fellowship with the National Endowment for the Arts for his discovery/invention of the infinite phosphorescent color palette. Trust Your Equipment is almost equally inventive. "Golfers Are Fat" and "Smart Fools From Art School" are Zappa-esque social commentary, but some of his observations are pure Texas poetry. The essence of Livingston's musical vision is lighthearted – he even attempts Tuvan throat singing on a couple of tracks – but when he gets serious as he does on the luminescent "It's All Water," he recalls James McMurtry with an extra twist of the knife. From blues-rock fiddler "Evil Spirits" to the soundscape jam of "11:11 Floor Elevator," Livingston's all over the place musically, but Trust Your Equipment marks him a true original.


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