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Tracklist: 1. Diagonal Blue 3-47 2. Complicated 5-01 3. Rocking Chair 4-14 4. Full Blast 4-16 5. Out of Nowhere 5-02 Line-up: Paul Nelson - guitars Mike Mancini - keyboards Dean Vali - bass Jim Vali - drums All compositions written and produced by Paul Nelson. Recorded by Jim Vali at "Carriage House" studios in Stanford, CT, USA.
Prologue. Paul Nelson is one of the former members of the known band Lieges Lord (I've heard of them yet never listened to their music). "Look" is Paul's first solo album (EP actually).
The Album. Musically, five instrumental compositions, that feature "Look", appear quite symmetrical, being placed on the album properly (in other words, the album was produced excellently), while stylistically, these five compositions can be (easily) divided into three parts. Both the opening and closing tracks of the album represent a blend of Neo Prog-Metal (or Progressive Hard Rock) and Blues with some traces of Fusion. Complicated and Full Blast (tracks 2 & 4 respectively) have their basis in the structures that we usually call "Classic Prog-Metal", though there are also a few of Art-Rock-ish episodes in each of them. In addition, these two pieces were performed incredibly impressive and fast, especially Full Blast. Finally, Rocking Chair, a real blues-y ballad, stands straight in the middle of the album. All the four tracks, that surround it, are full of theme changes, though the first and the last tracks are by no means rich in changes of tempos, unlike Complicated and Full Blast that are undoubtedly the best tracks on the album. The main values of "Look", though, are Paul's composing and performing capabilities. There are really a lot of diverse themes in each of the four 'surrounding' tracks and each of these themes contain Paul's either fluid or high-speed yet always different tasteful and virtuosic solo. Well, Blues is just Blues, and there are, on the whole, nothing special in the album's 'nucleus', a real centerpiece (which is true only according to its location on the album) Rocking Chair. Also, despite the fact that the majority of tracks on the album sound really interesting and in many ways progressive, not here and there, but everywhere only a guitar is a solo instrument on "Look", whereas all other instruments look here as just a good background-playground for a guitarist's acrobatics.
Summary. Back to the theme of "guitar totalitarianism", actually I don't regard such a 'formula' of the creation of album as something really negative. Nevertheless, this is a way leading to a limited, specific audience, but not to the majority of Prog lovers, who usually prefer a rich and colourful sound created with the use of a few soloing instruments. This way, "Look" can be highly recommended only to those into the music of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, etc. Paul Nelson is on a par with these musicians by all means.
VM. October 23, 2001
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