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Gayle Ellett & The Electromags


Review by Gary Hill

This is the second release from this act to across my desk for reviewing. I'm a fan of Gayle Ellett in pretty much every project he's involved with, starting with Djam Karet. I really enjoyed the first album from this group, but I think this one might be even better. It continues to the same sort of instrumental music tradition, but stretches things out a bit more, too. This one also includes a number of guests, many of whom I've covered before at Music Street Journal.

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Track by Track Review
Viewer Discretion Advised (Featuring Ted Price)
This powers in with a healthy helping of Americana. The retro keyboard sound on this is a great touch. The whole tune grooves and has some definite hints of jazz.
The Many Moods of Morgan (Featuring Brian Chapman)
This comes in with a more pure prog texture. The synthesizer on the number adds to that element. This has a great energy and some cool melodic modes. There are some intriguing twists and turns, and at times this gets more fully into Americana zones. There is also a drop down for an electric piano solo section.
Via Valencia (Featuring Alfonso Rodenas)
I can hear some early Pink Floyd in the mix on this number. It's a classy tune that has plenty of psychedelia in the mix. This is a particularly effective rocking groove.
It’s all San Andreas’ Fault (Featuring Marc Ceccotti & Joee Corso)
I love the energy and class built into this. It has a definite fusion feel to it. The bass really grooves, and the guitar cuts some intriguing and lines of sound loose. The guitar seriously gets intense further down the road. Organ lends some great retro sound at points, too.
TransPacific Highway (Featuring Issei Takami & Shin Ichikawa)
This is a powerhouse rocker that really works. It has some killer synthesizer parts and a lot of energy and style.
Splitting Hairs (Featuring Dudley Taft)
Much harder edged, this some cool twists and turns and a lot of great guitar built into it. It's another potent instrumental rocker.
Maximum Connection (Featuring Thierry Payssan & Bill Polits & Aquiles MagaƱa)
I love the synthesizer work on this thing, but the guitar is on fire, as well. This is another high-energy rocker with so much style and charm. It's guitar-dominated, but also decidedly proggy.
Three Parsecs from Tucson (Featuring Carl Weingarten & Walter Whitney & David Udell)
There is some Americana along with some fusion and more pure prog built into the mix on this number. This is less intense than some of the other music here. That doesn't mean it's less interesting. The instrumental interplay on this works extremely well.
Maria’s Lakeside Drive (Featuring Barry Cleveland)
Americana is all over this guitar showcase. This goes through a few twists and turns. It gets really intense and fierce at times. It definitely has plenty of fusion in the mix. There is even some acoustic guitar soloing on the piece.
Guitar City (Featuring Paul Richards)
This comes in driving and fierce. It gets into a synthesizer dominated section mid-track. There are some hints of space rock at times. This is another killer proggy instrumental number.
Sons Of Sebastien (Featuring Lucio Calegari & German Vergara & Juan Pablo)
The synthesizer in play as this gets going is positively on fire. There is plenty of fusion in this, but also lots of hard rock. It's a steady stream of killer soloing sections from different musicians. Yet it all serves the piece as a whole rather than dominating it. This really is a powerhouse.
Bueno Sanga (Featuring Alvarez Ortega Bianchi & Jim Crawford)
Here we get another slab of music that has some definite Americana built into it. It's also proggy, rocking and fusion-leaning.
1960 Ocean Front Walk (Featuring Frederic L'Epee)
The electric piano dominated opening movement here definitely calls to mind Pink Floyd. This builds outward slowly with a lot of style from there. It's slow moving and melodic. It's also very classy. It has a lot of differing movements. It's also one of the most decidedly progressive rock based pieces here.
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