Level Five (King Crimson ‘The Power to Believe’)
I love this track. It has everything that defines the modern King Crimson era and sound. And that to me is great so I’m never going to complain about that! Robert’s solo is one of the more memorable guitar solos I’ve heard in some time. So simple but it just sticks in your brain! But when Adrian’s solo comes in… wow, it’s like the world is splitting in two. In my opinion these two are still the best guitar players I’ve seen live. The voodoo is just overwhelming!
Seasons (Jeff Beck ‘Jeff’)
This is, I think, my favourite of all of Jeff’s tracks ever. It deserves to be the highlighted piece of this 5 but there wasn’t a video for it. And I’m glad because this is so special I wouldn’t want a live performance to ruin the perception I have of this stunning piece of music. The playing here is exquisite, there’s so much emotion in there it’s scary. And I absolutely adore the guitar sound. As on his last record before ‘Jeff’ I believe it’s just a Marshall JCM2000; the DSL50 I think. Playing with fingers certainly helps get closer to this kind of sound but it’s still pretty elusive. What I love most about Seasons is that no matter how many times I hear it I’m still shivering and holding back tears. If once in my life I could record something this good I would have achieved more than I could ever have imagined. I simply can’t imagine electric guitar playing more expressive than this.
2 + 2 = 5 (The Lukewarm) (Radiohead ‘Hail to the Thief’)
Occassionally Radiohead are ridiculously good. Godly good. This track is definitely one of those occassions! In fact I’d say this is maybe my favourite Radiohead song. I love the changes, the noises, the energy but more than anything I love that cross rhythm interlude. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever heard in my life. The tension that builds through that section is stunning. Shivers abound. And I love how it spits out into the next riff. This stuff is genius.
Elektrik (King Crimson ‘The Power to Believe’)
I hate to say it but I was a little disappointed when I first heard KCs 2003 album The Power to Believe. It was about 4 years later that I revisited it and completely fell in love with it. I would now say it’s an almost perfect record. I guess when you’ve released so much exceptional material, as the Crimson boys have, that you set extremely high expectations.
Elektrik is one of those pieces where it’s the sum of all the parts that makes it great. And I love these clean guitar sounds, Belew and Fripp certainly know how to get good clean guitar sounds that’s for sure. The way these chords wind in and out of each other falling like a waterfall, the way the tonal centre meanders from key to key in a slightly bad mood or simply how the groove is firmly locked in… it all works together to create something far greater than the individual parts and consequently something unique. Great stuff.
When Girls Telephone Boys (Deftones ‘Deftones’)
There’s so much energy in this track it’s ridiculous! Talk about building tension! When I’m in a bad mood I put this on and erm… get wound up even tighter. I love Steph’s detuned 7 string on this record. I’ve mentioned before how I admire his constant evolution and how it changes the sound of the Deftones from album to album. This album is completely different to the rest of the Deftones catalogue and yet sounds exactly like Deftones should. There’s some amazing stuff on the album, Hexagram, Battle-Axe, Bloody Cape and Moana in particular are stunning Deftones songs.
2003 was a very strong year and there is a wealth of amazing material I haven’t included in the five, I’ve tried to stay honest to my personal faves and not just swamp the list with Jeff or KC. Don’t let that stop you commenting and leaving your own guitar oriented picks for the year!
Have a good w/e guys!