Discovery was issued to give the new Moog Guitar a workout and a half. In whirlwind fretbender Fareed Haque, the instrument's manufacturers could hardly have found a better test run, and, in Garaj Mahal, the backup is judiciously spread between veteran fusion chops and laybacks allowing a considerable palette of the wide sound of the new guitar to emerge and blossom. Exactly as one would expect of anything born of the legendary Robert Moog, the new possibilities in this axe are impressive.
I've always held that once past the standard pedals, outboard effects for the guitar are attempts, often successful, to turn the fretted instrument into a keyboard, frequently erasing elements of the sound envelope (attack, etc.) or extending them. The whole of this CD is given over to a diversity of manifestations: fusion a la Isotope, progtronica somewhat in the fashion of Roedelius & ilk, the sort prototypical exploratory neoclassical electronics Dick Hyman and others produced decades ago (yet still has not seen the proper horizon of exposure, particularly with the landmark The Minotaur), and so on. I found Artorius to be especially pleasing, and the 10 minute Never Give Up will please every single chopsfest aficionado on the globe. In sum, the dozen songs veer all over the place, attractive to many ears.
Of course, there's also Vivaldi's Largo from Concerto in D, RV 234, which kinda follows on William Orbit's treatments of hoary opuses in Pieces in a Modern Style, reverent but augmented. Thelonius Monk's Round Midnight is similarly treated, a short 2:51 but extremely fidelitous to Monk's outré meld of traditionalism and futurity, emphasis on substance, a tad McLaughlinesque, a little Scofieldy. Oh, and the ability to erect Frippertronic soundscapes is rather nice as well, a tool for abstracting to an environmental degree. To catch Haque & Mahal's baseline fusion nature much more fully, though, slip over to their new More Mr. Nice Guy (here) and turn the volume up.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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