Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lindsey Boullt - Composition (Album Review)

Now as many of you will know by now i'm not a huge fan of progressive
stuff but when Lindsey contacted me asking if I would do a review of his
album i jumped at the chance. It's a great way to achieve an indepth
opinion of an artist i might otherwise have never heard of.

ABOUT LINDSEY (taken from his website)
First picking up the guitar at 21 years old, Lindsey received his music
degree three and a half years later and then graduated with honors from
the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles at the age of 27. Now an
established guitarist, composer and instructor in San Francisco and
working with some of the finest players in the world, Lindsey teaches at
the renowned Guitar Institute and has just released the 10-song original
work, June 2007.

Joining Lindsey for this album is a wealth of talented musicians.

Lindsey Boullt - Guitars
Jerry Goodman - Violin
Derek Sherinian - Keyboards
Stu Hamm - Bass
Jon Herrera - Bass
Atma Anur - Drums
Sukhawat Ali Khan - Vocals
Jeremy Coulson - Drums
Mingo Lewis - Percussion
Peter Van Gelder - Sitar

Page Revisited - A great introductory track. The track begins very
musically and has some interesting riffs and ideas. By midway through the
track it becomes evident that Lindsey has some chops! After a blistering
duel between guitar and keyboard the main themes and ideas of the song are
returned. A good introductory track that introduces us to lindsey's style.
Chasing The Whirling Dervish - This was quite a strange track, it had a
definite folk / oriental feel in several places throughout the song but
still maintained the feel of a progressive track. By the time the song was
half way through i think it was safe to say I knew what was coming
next...and i was right. A barrage of aggressive runs glued together to
form a solo. I must admit this wasnt one of my favourite solos from the
album. The highlight of this track for me was the string parts, they were
awesome and very filmic in some places.

Moving Panvishnu - This track showes a different element to Lindseys
playing, whilst the previous tracks were seemingly about the speed of the
solo i was much more impressed by the unusual melodies present in this
track. It begins with a strange melody line that sound like a cross
between Frank Zappa and Steve Vai. The guitar tone in this track is really
effective too and made me think of a theremin.Around two minuits into the song there is a guitar solo that makes excellent use of a wah pedal. I'm glad there are guitarists out there that
still know how to use a wah pedal properly and dont just rock it back and
forth repeatedly.At 2.43 comes one of the best melodies on the whole album, i only wish it
was longer. It really took me by surprise and sounded like something the
team behind Animusic would have come up with. As with the previous track,
some of the soloing doesnt fit with my personal tastes but it does fit
into the track very well.

Call For Peace - This track is in a similar style and sound to Moving
Panvishnu but introduces the first vocal lines to the album. The vocal is
quite haunting and stategically placed and well written even though it is
short. The main problem i'm having with this album is that no track really
stands out from the others, if i wasn't reading the track list as i go i
would have no way of telling where i am in the album. The songs are all
quite samey thus far and whilst Lindsey has obviously come up with a
succesful formula i hope he experiments with more styles later in the

Bravo Davo De La Torre - This track started off really promising, it
sounded like something a bit different. The first meldoy line of the song
is great and sounded like something you would expect to hear from Satriani
or something from Petrucci's Suspended Animation album. This track is one
of the more melodic on the album and also one of my favourites, it shows
Lindsey's talent as a guitarist with some great licks and solos, but
ultimatly, this track is about the melody.

Aurora's Aura - From the first beat of this track i immediatly thought to
myself, Allan Holdsworth. About forty seconds into the track the music
changes enough to take away the Holdsworth feel and revert back to the
folk / eastern feel that is becoming very apparent in Lindsey's style.
Unless you are a huge prog / fusion fan this track is quite difficult to
listen to as it makes use of strange timings, odd beats, and unusual
soloing and scales that an ear not trained for fusion can have difficulty
understanding. This is a very technical composition and it is easy to
appreciate how hard it must have been playing this track, but it's not
really for me.

Grooving With Stu - This track is something different, and fun to listen
to. It combines elements of all kinds of musical styles including funk,
jazz, rock, blues and even elements of spanish gypsy and flamenco are
present. There are some great acoustic solos which are reminiscent of Al
Di Meola and it is in these solos where Lindsey's techinique can be truly
appreciated. It is a shame this track is only just over two minuites long.
Taste The Hate - Similarly to the previous track, Taste the Hate fuses and
combines some unusual styles together. The folk and eastern elements are
still there (including a brief sitar solo) but some of the lead playing
has a rock / Satriani type feel. It is one of the strangest tracks on the
album and has a very trippy feel behind it.

Farewell - This is more like it, super-cheesey, lighter-in-the-air, ballad
time. This is definitly reminiscent of Satriani and could almost be taken
from one of his albums. Some great melodies in this piece. At 1.50 into
the track the music takes a different shape that reminded me personally of
Holdsworth or Shawn Lane. This only lasts about thirty seconds and then
the main idea of the music returns. This track definitly shows Lindsey's
'softer' side without taking away his signature sound. My only problem
with this track was that perhaps some of the soloing could've been more
melodic but even so it did fit well with the music.

Cleopatra's Third Eye - Lindsey's love for unusual fusion is again present
in this final track by combining a funky, seventies cop show style bass
line, and some ballad like strings as well as squeezing in the odd bar of
unusual time meters. This track definitly reminds me of something but i
can't quite put my finger on it.

The album is very well mixed and produced and the sound is consistent
throughout. The playing cannot be faultered on the album as all of the
musicians sounded spot on.With a title such as Composition the album had a lot to live up to and in
my opinion it succeeded to be a composition and not a guitar album.
Lindsey uses the guitar as one of his tools but it is by no means the most
important instrument on the album which is a refreshing change. This
album, whilst it does have some enviable guitar parts, is definitly about
the music as a whole rather than about Lindsey's ego.

It would be unfair of me to rate this album as it became apparent it is
not my style of music. What i will say is that i enjoyed listening to the
album and the music was a refreshing change and although similarities can
be made with other artists it really is quite an original piece and one i
hope i will go back to again and again for inspiration.

Reviewed By Adam Ironside (Adji)