Monday, April 10, 2006

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Yes! It's here. The Rodrigo y Gabriela CD+DVD arrived today. I'm listening to it right now. I am first and foremost struck by the fact that you just can't simply put a label on their music. I titled a previous post about their work "Acoustic Melodic Shred Guitar?" but now that I have the CD playing I have to state that title is simply too superficial to adequately describe the style & content of this album. Too narrow.

Yes, it's acoustic guitar.

Yes, they are both quite technically proficient in their playing.

Both of those aspects are important and contribute to making for some very interesting listening however it goes so far beyond that. You have to hear it to really get it . As corny as it might appear to say it, they really do seem to have synthesized all of these various influences into their own unique sound and style. At once both bold & driving rhythms & persussion sounds are combined with most delicate melody lines. The arrangements are interesting, and the production sounds incredible--full & rich, interesting dynamics & movement in the pieces. Good stuff! I don't have any of their other albums yet, but I am quite intrigued. I think this album would appeal to a very wide range of listeners. To try to put a label on their style or box them into a particular genre would be an injustice.

I took a moment a little earlier and watched a some of the DVD, a portion called 'the story' or something like that. That was one of the first things they pointed out, and it really is quite accurate. I don't think most musicians enjoy being boxed in with labels but how many actually produce something as new, vibrant and compelling as this album? Gabriela says how moving to acoustic guitar was freedom to her. Freedom to play what they want to play. I think they totally demonstrate that freedom on this album to powerful effect.

Time was when 'MTV Unplugged' performances were all the rage amongst rock players. They would take their work and translate it into another medium (acoustic guitar). The difference here is: the acoustic is the medium and since they are not locked into any specific expectations with it, it truly is a liberating platform for a very original body of work. Even the cover versions of Stairway To Heaven & Orion demonstrate this unique approach to the instrument.

This is the best musical find I have come across in years!

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