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(47 min, 'Music Mirror')
TRACK LIST: 1. Journey to Light 4:19 2. Entropy 7:30 3. Hypnosis 4:14 4. Ride On 3:56 5. Friday Morning 3:12 6. Nice Nine 5:51 7. Fuse Blues 3:25 8. The Lizard 3:51 9. Blue Day 4:06 10. Crossroads 7:27 All tracks: by Kapeliaris. Produced by Kapeliaris. LINEUP: Harry Kapeliaris - guitars, midi-guitar; sampling Christos Mpasios - organ, piano, synthesizers Theodore Goumas - drum programming With Haris Boutselakis - bass (2 & 6)
Prolusion. "Journey to Light" is the official debut release by Greek guitarist and composer Harry Kapeliaris. The man's real first name is Haralabos.
Analysis. On his debut outing, Kapeliaris appears as an experienced musician, having a solid store of knowledge of everything, which concerns composition, arrangement and music in general. Backed up by keyboardist Christos Mpasios and drummer Hapis Mpoitselakis, both of whom well match with him in the field of performance, Harry has crafted an amazingly interesting and fresh sounding album of instrumental Jazz-Fusion. Although the recording is not overly cluttered with studio values and features little overdubs, the trio sounds like a quartet and, at times, even like a quintet, which is certainly due to the fact that Harry often plays a midi-guitar, and also properly uses the wide possibilities of a guitar synthesizer. Particularly, the solos of fretless bass sound so realistically and so convincing that I was certain in the presence of a bass player in the lineup until I looked into the CD booklet. Besides which, the bass is often featured in a prominent role. But here is something, which is probably most important. While Harry is definitely a central personage here, unlike most so-called guitar heroes he doesn't tend to be the only star in a show and always gives enough room for his partners to maneuver. The sonic palette is rich and colorful, with well-balanced guitar and keyboard textures, the latter being presented not only by synthesizers, but also by organ and piano. So I can't resist the desire to approach to viewing this fine ensemble as a quartet. In any event, the men took what is essentially a jazz quartet (guitars / keyboards / drums / bass) and applied it in a Progressive Rock context. The result is a fresh and original mixture of both of the quasi and authentic manifestations of Jazz-Fusion with a touch of Metal, where the emphasis is put on intricate and compelling melodies. Embracing seven out of the ten compositions, the album's primary style is most eloquently presented on the first three: the title track, Entropy and Hypnosis, each being intense, dynamic and edgy, at least for the most part. Friday Morning, Nice Nine, The Lizard and Blue Day follow in a similar direction, but are notable for the alternation of dense and mellower arrangements. Here, it must be noted that the trio rarely repeats the once played theme, and even if they do that, only the basic keys remain the same, while surrounding patterns are constantly changeable. The energy level varies, but the players, all being skilled in every respect, never do flashy, furious-like solos, preferring something more fundamental and profound. All the tunes are tightly composed and present a wide variety of approaches, which makes difficult any comparisons save redundant ones. Having pointed this out, I feel more confident to name the artists that can be used as general, style-related points of reference with regard to the described seven compositions. These are Allan Holdsworth, David Torn and Pat Metheny. The readers acquainted with the creation of these true guitar heroes might be certain in the seriousness of Harry's intentions to become an important part of the international Jazz-Fusion movement. As to the remaining three tracks, they don't have analogs even on the stylistic level. Fuse Blues is certainly bluesy in character, but it doesn't have a traditional sense at all. This is a delicious piece of music, notable for the excellent acoustic guitar solo, masterfully interwoven with electric textures. All the tracks on the album are excellent, but the remaining two are in many ways groundbreaking. The striking contrast between heavy, Doom Metal-like guitar riffs and airy passages of piano is the essence of Ride On, imparting a wonderful feel of fragility to the music. The semi-epic Crossroads closes the album and crowns it. With several different instruments (strings, piano, acoustic guitar, bass and congas) being at the fore, this composition has a very saturate sound and is one of the most wonderful works destined to uniting the harmonies of European and Oriental music. Pure magic.
Conclusion. This is a flawless, by all means excellent album, which must surely put Greece fixedly on the map of classic Jazz-Fusion. Highly recommended to all the categories of Prog lovers, though I understand that the specific proponents of the genre, especially those into a guitar-driven Jazz-Fusion, will be happier after undertaking this "Journey to Light" than the others.
VM: June 22, 2005
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