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Tracklist: 1. Artiloquio 8:30 2. One 4:45 3. El Ojo-Dido 4:47 4. Song For Bartok 7:06 5. Inside 5:21 6. Twiggy Pig 5:16 7. The Last Dodo Bird 2:36 8. Street Jam 3:30 9. Uranus 5:01 10. Final Chat 2:32 All compositions written, arranged, performed, produced, & recorded by R.M. at his cat Bartok's room. Rigel Michelina - electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, s-bass, percussion, & drum-programming With: Oscar Fanega - bass on tracks 2, 3, & 6 Miguel Blanco - bass on 1, 4, & 9 Yoncarlos Medina - keyboards on 1, 5, & 9 Javier Saume - drums on 3 Yudnara De Ridder - vocalizes on 6
Prologue. "Bartok's Room", the debut album by the first Solo Pilot to come out from Venezuela, has nothing to do with the famous Hungarian composer. According to Rigel, this album was composed, performed, and recorded in his cat's room, Bartok. Which, correspondingly, received a "special thanks" in the booklet of CD. In other words, cat Bartok lives in the home studio of that Venezuelan joker. Well, let's see what his music is about. I had hoped that this wouldn't be a caterwauling show, consisting of Bartok's screams and other cat noises while eating and 'doing' his daily toilet visit.
The Album. On the whole, the music of Rigel Michelina's debut album can be described as a blend of Classic and Neo Jazz-Fusion. In fact, various compositions present various manifestations of the Jazz-Fusion genre. What's interesting is four of the five of the more accessible tracks are marked with evident influences; whereas all five of the best pieces sound very original (at least for this reviewer). Both of the first compositions on the album are 'dedicated' to Allan Holdsworth. On Artiloquio, which is characterized with interchanges of jazzy guitar or piano solos and symphonic passages of a synthesizer, most of the guitar solos are not unlike Allan's. All of the electric guitar passages, that are featured One (track 2), as well as the overall musical atmosphere of this piece, very much remind me of those from Holdsworth's "Metal Fatigue" album (1985). Most of the fluid and jazzy guitar solos from Inside & Twiggy Pig (tracks 5 & 6) remind me of Pat Metheny's style. There are a few of the female vocalizes on Twiggy Pig. This piece, as well as both of the album's first tracks, sounds much richer than Inside, which is the simplest composition here (if not to count Final Chat, track 10, which is nothing else but a very 'narrative' joke). All five of the remaining tracks shine with their originality and very interesting arrangements, ranging from a moderate to high degree of complexity. While Song For Bartok (track 4) consists of acoustic structures almost entirely, Street Jam (track 8) is a completely acoustic piece. The first of them is filled with Latin American flavored interplay between diverse and tasteful rhythms and passages of an acoustic guitar and solos of a bass guitar and percussion. African-like voices and exclamations accompany the virtuosi passages and rhythms of acoustic guitar throughout Street Jam. El Ojo-Dido, The Last Dodo Bird, and Uranus (tracks 3, 7, &9) are the 'official' representatives of the Classic Jazz-Fusion genre. All of them contain both jazzy (rather Jazz-Rock-y, though) and symphonic structures and are filled with the original, highly diverse and interesting, truly progressive arrangements.
Summary. If honestly, only Inside and Final Chat (tracks 5 & 10) I find really weak compositions on this album. Thus, I like not only those five that are the most original compositions on the album, but also both of the opening tracks and Twiggy Pig. Despite the fact that three of the latter pieces are marked with the traces of influences, that I've mentioned in the beginning of this review, all of them were performed up to the mark of the musicianship. In all, "Bartok's Room" is a very promising debut.
VM. January 17, 2002
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