Corrie van Binsbergen guitar
total time 41:00
music by Corrie van Binsbergen
two-track recordings 3, 7, 8, 12
recorded by Chris Weeda
22, 23 August 2013 at Fattoria Musica Studios Osnabrück, Germany
mixed by Chris Weeda at Studio Rapenburg
mastered at Amsterdam Mastering by Darius van Helfteren
production Corrie van Binsbergen
design Andreas Stillman
photography Monique Besten
It was a nice surprise, a few years ago, when, totally by chance, I happened to "discover" the mature, expressive guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen. When, just a few days later, while talking with a friend over the phone, I tried to remember the name of the fine musician I had just "discovered", the best I could come up with was "Corrie van... Something.". "You mean Corrie van Binsbergen?", he said. And so it immediately dawned on me that what for me was a "new discovery", for others was already a proven entity.
The album in question being For A Dog, by the quartet called Cram. I listened to it again the other day, just to make sure, and I noticed that I haven't changed my mind: it's a "fusion" album, but light, never vulgar, totally non-showy (which is definitely a plus, given the "genre", right?), the leader's guitar reminding me here and there of Frank Zappa's and Jeff Beck's lyricism and angularity.
I'll immediately say that the album I'm reviewing now is: a) totally different; b) a lot better. Self Portrait In Pale Blue is an album for solo guitar whose chosen approach is improvisation. A musical dimension that here is definitely "teleological" and extremely "consonant", which moves along lines that are sometimes "modal", with the pleasant addition of a bit of a "raga rock" aroma. In more direct terms, I'll say it's a very fine album whose melancholic and serene beauty can also work as an invitation for an analytical ear.
Now that I think of it, The Lake Isle Of Innisfree - the track for solo guitar that came at the end of For A Dog, with those arpeggios for nylon guitar almost sounding like a transcription from the classical guitar repertory, with those nuances of serene melancholy - could almost be seen as a "bridge" to the new album; but the new album was deliberately conceived, and - though the featured sound palette is greatly varied - works perfectly as a whole.
The process that gave birth to Self Portrait In Pale Blue is explained in the CD liner notes. Fine recorded sound, by Chris Weeda, in the German studio called Fattoria Musica. Four pieces here were created through a "two-track" process, meaning that a guitar track was superimposed in real time on a previously conceived track. While the remaining pieces were created "in the moment", the guitar being assisted by a few pedals, like the ones we know so well from the days of, say, Robert Fripp and Elliott Sharp.
The album features thirteen tracks, for an optimum length - 41' - just like an old vinyl LP. The pieces have no title - there's only a numerical progression - as if the artist had wanted to avoid superimposing "content" - and so, "meaning" - on a substance that's deliberately kept as "elusive".
Here and there I was reminded of something known - those harmonics on track 2 reminded me of Jeff Beck, while the opening arpeggio on track 3 reminded me of Robert Fripp - but I have to confess that the meditative and introspective nature of this work had me thinking of the most introverted moments of the once-famous solo album by Peter Green titled The End Of The Game, above all the track Timeless Time and, of course, the title-track.
With the only exception of the tracks that open and close the album, all episodes are on the short side. However, in my opinion the album works best when listened to as a whole.
The player's touch being very clean and expressive, the album's sound being quite beautiful, listeners are invited to turn their amp's volume knob to the right. I hate sounding like a paid advertisement, but I would not be surprised if quite a few people found themselves to be in love with this album, well beyond the usual boundaries of this "genre" (?).
© Beppe Colli 2014
CloudsandClocks.net | Jan. 19, 2014