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A. Mateur (UK)

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The Father The Son And The Godfather (BIS BISCD1895)
The Father The Son And The Godfather (BIS BISCD1895)
Price: £15.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baroque 'n' roll, 7 April 2012
I like much of this disc. Browsing the BIS website I chanced upon Paradiso Musicale's promo video: they came across as good fun personalities with a great attitude to improvisation and so I bought the album. In fact some of the performances really throw caution to the wind in terms of articulation, swerving rubato and unique arrangements of familiar material (it's nice to see a bass recorder and baroque viola making prominent appearances, for example). I also appreciate the fact that Dan Laurin doesn't feel the need to overblow notes on the recorder in the name of 'expression'. It's a common excuse for HIP that just sounds out of tune. However, if I were to be critical I'd say that some of the renditions on this release are less than memorable. Also, Laurin's recorder sounds clogged up in the J.S. Bach sonata (or perhaps it's inauthentic to clean one's instrument?) and Marion Schwebel's recorded balance is perhaps a little too dry overall. However, this latter point is subjective and I do think the presence of squeaking chairs and breathing on a record is important. The final track is particularly exciting with its gritty drones and daring tempo, and I could only describe the group's general use of percussive taps and folky timbres as rock 'n' roll! Short of going for a group like Respectable Groove, The Father, The Son & The Godfather provides a healthy marriage of folk improvisation and high-end period performance.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2012 2:41 PM BST

Surfing With The Alien (Legacy Edition)
Surfing With The Alien (Legacy Edition)
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £20.65

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Consider this a DVD with a bonus CD, 13 Aug. 2007
Joe Satriani's live output was already fairly extensive with two double-DVD concerts and three G3 offerings. However, all this footage shows a much more mature Joe, post-'96 haircut, performing the material very well, but almost as if it were a tribute to his rock 'n' roll past. I was absolutely thrilled when I found out he was releasing a full concert from the late '80s, back in his heyday of long hair and a gritty live act.

The DVD is great fun: Satch really gets into the material and sacrifices perfection for lots of improvisation and new fills. Many of the tracks have not before featured in Satch's videography, and are full of insight for fans who want to see how Satch pulls off his music live. "Lords of Karma" is particularly interesting as it shows Jonathan Mover using an electric drum pad to provide the rhythm guitar part, whilst the solo in "Echo" is entirely different to the album version. Satch also ad libs a delightful alternative solo before he begins the melody. Unfortunately, the set lasts just an hour because the band were late on and it had to be cut; indeed, Satch is so keen to get through it he even returns a beat early after the tapping solo in "Satch Boogie"!

I have never been so keen on Satch's early lineup of Stu Hamm and Jonathan Mover; I feel neither play very tastefully and the dated production and sound quality of this show doesn't help. There is little subtlety in Hamm pounding his way through each track putting his entire hand to the strings, whilst Mover's drum solo is boring and laden with too much double kick drum work. I much prefer Jeff Campitelli, who is clearly a huge Bonham fan and concentrates on the groove rather than competing with Satch for speed and volume. Where Hamm does shine is in his solid accompaniment to "Always With Me, Always With You", where he plays both the bass line and the rhythm guitar's arpeggios.

The CD itself sounds fantastic and is complemented by a booklet in which Joe talks his way through each track. Armed with these, one can really appreciate the remaster, from Joe's huge sound on the title track to the ambience of "Echo".

I definitely recommend this latest release, not least for the bonus live DVD, which shows the timeless and oxymoronic image of Satch, tightly clad in the quintessential rock outfit, performing his outrageous tunes in front of the stage's backdrop that reads "Montreux Jazz Festival".

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