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T Bone Burnett | The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space

The superstar producer unleashes the first chapter of his most ambitious project.

Everybody loves a big finish. But they don’t come much bigger than T Bone Burnett’s The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space. Or much stranger, to be honest. The superstar producer and musical director — whose credits span albums from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Grammy-harvester Raising Sand to Sara Bareilles’ just-released Amidst the Chaos — says his latest release is the first third of a massive project that will likely serve as his swan song as a recording artist. Suffice to say, he’s going big before he goes home. The audacious and ambitious Invisible Light: Acoustic Space — which borrows its title from a T.S. Eliot metaphor for divinity — presents 44 minutes of meandering jams and sound experiments created with esteemed drummer Jay Bellerose and keyboardist / sonic manipulator Keefus Ciancia. While the former lays down minimalist, sputtering beats and the latter creates ominous overtones and twitchy textures, Burnett adopts a dusty deadpan delivery to recite rambling, epic-length Beat-style poems about religion, politics, patriotism, brainwashing and other contemporary concerns. T Bone supposedly has said it’s all about how technology is destroying our ability to tell fact from fiction. He also says the next two instalments — due at roughly six-month intervals — will be respectively punkier and jazzier. Here’s hoping they’re also a little more structured and engaging than this admittedly stylish but ultimately self-indulgent set.