Innamorata (Al Di Meola ‘Flesh on Flesh’)
After the incredible 2000 release, The Grande Passion, what more could Al Di do? That’s right, more of the same! And when it’s music as stunningly moving as this I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with an expansion of more-of-the-same. The video clip is from what is personally the best live DVD I’ve ever seen, One of The Nights. The band walk on, tune up and open with this track. Can you imagine opening a concert with this?! Talk about a challenge. And it sets the tension/excitement for the rest of the show perfectly. I cannot recommend the DVD enough for anyone curious. Al Di’s playing is sublime as ever and he’ll baffle you as you see some of the most confusing finger patterns you’ll ever see.
For anyone who doesn’t know about his gear setup he’s using his Ovation/Godin acoustics, which are loaded with Roland GK pickups. Those are running into a Roland VG-88 (if I remember correctly it was an 88 not and 8). So at times Al Di will be playing acoustic, electric and synth lines in unison, or switching to a bass line on a modelled acoustic bass, or it’ll suddenly sound like his Les Paul through a Marshall. So don’t get surprised and weirded out by it!
Well to the Bone (Scott Henderson ‘Well to the Bone’)
I love Scott Henderson. Ever since I saw his amazing, if quirky, instructional videos in the early 90s I knew this was a guy that I was going to be interested in following for some time to come. Those videos are pretty awesome so do all you can to watch them! Scott is just an amazing guitar player and I’m pretty surprised I forgot to put any Tribal Tech stuff in this feature before now. But nevermind, my brain doesn’t always work obviously. Scott is one of those guys that is quite happy to share everything he does and knows, and the guy coaxes some of the best guitar tones you’ll hear out of all sorts of setups. So be sure to check him out further if you’ve never done so.
Trains (Porcupine Tree ‘In Absentia’)
I guess most people would have picked The Sound of Muzak, it’s got a real cool riff. However, I’m picking Trains because I just simply adore that song and it’s not solely because of the guitar that I like it but it’s always that acoustic part I remember when I think of this song. Before I think of the vocal melody, which is a great melody, it is the guitar chords that tune my memory into the song. So that for me speaks volume. This is one of those weird moments where I feel strongly about some simple acoustic strumming that gets under my skin and I can’t stop playing it. Heartattack In a Layby is my fave piece of the record, it’s just a stunning piece of work.
No One Knows (Queens of the Stone Age ‘Songs for the Deaf’)
I saw QotSA play this live on the BBCs Jools Holland show and thought “wow, I have to buy that album”. And so I did. And I didn’t love it. I liked it but didn’t love it. This song however, I love. Catchy riff, crunchy detuned fuzzy guitar sounds, slightly crazy b-sections and those Cream-esque harmonized vocals. Nice. Not quite as cool as Alcatrazz’s Bigfoot but still awesome.
Streamline (System of a Down ‘Steal This Album!’)
I think this could be System’s best album. American Dream Denial is the standout track for me but the riffs from Streamline will always be what I think of first when I think of the record. It’s strange how even the simplest syncopation can sound so complex at first!
So, we’re definitely in a period where my exposure to current music was very poor. Particularly with guitar as I really didn’t care so much about guitar oriented music anymore. That’s not to say I’ve picked a dud 5. It’s simply a disclaimer to say there will be lots of music (of which some may change my life when I eventually “discover” it) that I am unaware of. So summing up, if you know of something I should know about … you simply gotta tell me on the Comments page.
Have a great weekend.