Welcome to Breakdown, an unofficial resource and discussion list about the innovative guitarist/producer Michael Brook. This site is infrequently updated, but contains a great deal of background info which will remain online. For up-to-date news and information, visit Michael Brook's official site and MySpace page.

Live tour dates and concert reviews

Los Angeles
by Breakdown correspondent Paul A. Toth
October 1997

I saw Michael Brook live in Los Angeles about five years ago (unfortunately, I cannot remember the venue, but it was a smallish restaurant on Fairfax in West Hollywood). I remember my astonishment when I saw the advertisement in the L.A. Weekly, expecting never to gain entrance.

Well, I walked right in, ordered a few drinks and studied the array of blinking amplifiers, synthesizers and other equipment. The anticipation was enough to kill; how many times had I driven down a highway, listening to Brook's guitar streak and slur, bend, rise into euphoria, blur into melancholy, altogether achieving moods that were always present but had no names?

The compositions seemed new; I recognized a few from Hybrid. Others, I supposed, were created for the performance itself. Given Brook's many contributions to film scores, I can't help but assume more than a few agents and producers were in the crowd.

It was a show destined to disappoint. For me, Brook is one of the few artists whose albums I can listen to over and over again, often for years. His work not only avoids cliche, but hypnotizes, creating a new way of looking at the world, playing with the odd, in-between emotions that often define a moment. In short, not only did he avoid disappointing, he surpassed expectations.

The rhythms, it seemed, were largely pre programmed, though some were clearly created by hand slaps on the body of the guitar, creating looping, rolling thumps that simultaneously served as bass and drum. The infinite guitar, of which there was no shortage, somehow surpassed its soaring effect on record. At times, I wanted to run into the street, grab a stranger's hand and say, "Come here, you've got to hear this." I remember thinking to myself, I have to etch this moment in my mind, remember every note, but of course that was impossible. Instead, I'm left with the impression of a child who comes across some object -- a photo album, a letter -- that takes upon itself a quality of magic, perhaps drawn from the child himself.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to see Nusrat live In Detroit. On the way to the concert, I prayed that Brook would perform with him, but perhaps it is fortunate he did not, for Nusrat's performance alone was an emotionally staggering event -- and the two on stage together would have perhaps been too drunken a pleasure.

Still, it is gratifying to know that such disparate, but strangely matched, artists found their way to each other. We can only hope that Brook's fortune will continue to challenge his listeners and create those strange, beautiful spaces.