Will Ackerman, in a career of many best-selling excellent releases, put out one particularly exceptional LP, Past Light, a chamber work of surpassing beauty and equatable to Oregon's best (Music of Another Present Era, etc.). Thus, he knows from beauty. Recently, the guy's been championing and producing rising guitarists of note. That he possesses the discretion to do so is without question, and the results of this foray have been seen in such talents as Lawrence Blatt (here). Now, he's located a very unusual young cat, Matt Millecchia, an overachiever with a personal pedigree surprising for its level and a thundering contrast against this quiet CD.
Millecchia started as a hardcore punker, transitioned to psych-metal, traveled over to 'instrumental math-rock' (progrock, basically), and then ventured into an acoustic folk-rock ensemble in order to groom his interest in acoustic guitar. In school, he received Math and Physics Student of the Year awards. While obtaining a BS in Physics and a Masters in Solid State Physics, he attended the Berklee College of Music, simultaneously side-tutored in music theory and jazz. He's a Sr. Lab Engineer at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and he designs and builds instruments to measure one of the world's most powerful lasers and its fusion targets. As if all that weren't enough, the guy holds a black belt in karate and kung fu while training in judo, aikido, boxing, and other martial arts. Sorry if all that sounds like an intro for an article in Scientific American, but Matt Millecchia is damned impressive just as a human being.
Nor does he lack in the music side. Silhouette of a Season sounds straight out of the old Windham Hill catalogue, a spare set of original compositions demonstrating refined discernment in the very difficult art of writing simple songs leaving the listener powerless but to listen. In that, he's abetted by Ackerman, Michael Manring, T. Bone Wolk, Eugene Friesen, and others, all giants in the field. My favorite cut is Mist, with Manring on fretless bass and Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, though Acid Lake is also a knockout, with Ackerman on 2nd axe and Friesen on cello, a song of surpassing delicacy and wistfulness. The tempo ramps up a bit here and there throughout the selections, once or twice as though a barn raising were occurring down the lane, but mostly the atmosphere is contemplative and serene, meditations upon the subtler things in life.
Silhouette paints its canvases with maturity and extreme care, attentive to many levels of aesthetics and with an incisive grasp of qualities which may be gestured towards but never fully explicated in words, the 'something' artists possess that baffles and bewitches non-creatives. That the quality is here shown in so measured a fashion is signatory of what's yet to come from this polymath, though what's now entablatured is more than sufficient to compel.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles