Of all the CandyRat guitarists I've heard so far, Forastiere is the most oriented to traditional melody and extension, as well as a player exhibiting higher fidelities to classical structures, to the compositions and ideas of, say, Ibanez, Tarrega, and such. Nonetheless, he stretches well beyond that oeuvre and into modern rewrites of elder days while preserving antiquity with finesse and discretion. But, then, one cannot listen to any CandyRat label release and fail to be impressed; there's just too much in the way of stellar finesse in every disc.
In fact, for those not raised on Alan Holdsworth, Jan Akkerman, Joe Satriani, and the more fusiony gents of the fret, Forastiere may very well be the best link between rock, progrock, jazz, and the more refined excursions of this slowly growing segment of the music world. Carta Di Fiori is the pefect example, a mellifluous tune, lightly jazzy, balmy, rich with island breezes, and the sort of song one might catch in an off-moment on a New Age station, wherein the DJ accidentally programmed something intelligent, to the delight of listeners tiring of Pete Bardens' lousy post-Camel output, Yanni's drek, and flimp Grant Geissman and his alleged guitar pieces. Forastiere indeed may be the link between The Wave, ECM, and CandyRat itself.
Atmospheres constantly meld into one another here, from soft candlelit passages to shimmering baskets of light in repeating chords and rondo'ed leadwork. Some, such as Fase 2, remain rooted in spare almost Satie-esque or Moonlight Sonata-ish miniatures of elegant vistas, pristine Mediterannean rooms, or silent contemplations. Others recall Michael Hedges' energetic serial compositions but more Glassian, taking motifs into deeper dimensions.
That all said, the really amazing aspect of this release is the DVD flanking the CD, and the ability to watch Forastiere perform the songs—all of them—before your unbelieving eyes. For those not familiar with tapping, double tapping, laptapping, or any of the newest techniques, ya hafta see this stuff to believe it. Guitar has entered an entirely new phase that started with Emmet Chapman and his stick, went forward to Stanley Jordan, and has now evolved by hybridizing what Hedges and Kottke were doing into all that. Mere hammer-ons, slurs, and suchlike are now pretty much passe—still used but old hat. Seeing Forastiere perform is an experience unto itself, one that adds considerable dimension after hearing the CD. Granted, all the CandyRatters are into this, but that's beside the point; this guy working at his craft is a pleasure to watch. I've seen Ralph Towner solo live and just tracing his hands moving so magically over the frets was an interlude in itself…and that's precisely what you get here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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