Sunday, May 6, 2012

CD Review – Panomorphia, by Carl Weingarten

The new album by guitarist Carl Weingarten goes beyond the expectations of traditional guitar music, resulting in a sonic treat not only for guitar fans, but for anyone interested in a unique listening experience.

The CD features seven tracks that are primarily situated in the New Age subgenre of ambient space music. Weingarten plays slide and other guitars through digital delay loops and is joined on four numbers by Michael Manring on fretless bass, Celso Alberti on drums, and Jeff Oster on trumpet and flugelhorn, resulting in a far out space jazz ensemble. The other three compositions are Weingarten by himself on guitars and loops, creating entrancingly hypnotic timbres that sound like they were constructed by synthesizers.

The key to the success of this album is the fact that Weingarten refrains from playing bop or fusion lead lines and instead uses his guitars and loops to generate textural atmospherics, evoking the impression of aural paintings. Over this expansive canvas, Weingarten provides just enough of a hint of his slide guitar flourishes to emphasize the human element behind the sleek technical sheen of the recording.

Sounding very much like sci-fi music with a sense of the mystery and the excitement of the unknown, this CD will yield revelatory rewards to those who seek out its tantalizing sounds.

--Raj Manoharan

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