For audio samples you'll 
need the RealPlayer









Blue Electric Cool
(If 6 Was 9)

Kicking things off with an opening track described as ‘Herb Alpert meets Eric Johnson’, Blue Electric Cool is the third solo album from L.A. guitarist Curtis Fornadley. From the striking CD artwork to the sharp studio sound, there’s alot of fine guitar ideas on the 13 track CD. Earlier albums from Curtis—his self-titled ‘99 album and 2001’s Room 137—offered a fine intro to his melodic jazz-rock instrumentals and his 2004 CD, Blue Electric Cool continues to perfect his sound. Highlights include the kick-ass “Fire In Her Eyes”, which sounds like a post-modern, rockin' Ventures style rave-up, "Acid Exp. #2" evokes a fascinating new Acid Jazz sound for Curtis, while a Metheny-inspired ‘quiet storm’ sound of smooth instro guitar jazz filters through on several tracks including the 7+ minute title track. With it’s Bolero-like power chords, “Spanish Surf” reflects a penchant for the ‘60s guitar instros while Prince as an inspiration comes knocking in the humorous “Tasty Burger” and, Al DiMeola too on the breakneck pace of “Race With Jesus on PCH.” Commenting on his own personal favorites from the album, the guitarist adds, “Blue Electric Cool is very diverse; each song has it own sound and vibe. On the psychedelic side I like "Acid Exp #2". I can listen to that tune without thinking about the fact that I wrote it and played on it. On the pure musical show off side, I think "Race with Jesus on PCH" came out better than I thought it would. "Street Walkin'" is a favorite because it mixes so many elements seamlessly; great horn parts, a great grove, with plenty of room for the guitar to shine without being annoying. A favorite tune from a composition and arrangement perspective is "Nothing Can Bother Us Now". Cool as ice and true blue, Blue Electric Cool features Curtis in excellent form on a number of electric guitars including Fender Custom Classic Strat, Tom Anderson Strat, Ovation acoustic and Les Paul. Backed up by fine players like Dave Hill (bass) and Rob Chismar (drums), Blue Electric Cool reveals fresh musical ideas spin after spin.



Kokoro Ire

A sonic masterpiece that creates an aura with some truly staggering guitar-textural design and eastern mystical bent, the 2004 CD from Dr. Maybe, Kokoro Ire, arrives in style sounding like a hybrid ‘60s spy flick genre vibe mixed-up in the exotica blender with some serious drum and bass trip-hop riffs. Guitarist John Prusinski is masterful at mixing light and shade and the heady mix of intense electric guitar and spacy electronics really has its moments. Sometimes the sound is truly heavy rock riffing but the depth of the more atmospheric moments carries the heavier moments. Commenting on the making of the Kokoro Ire album Prusinski adds, “As I was composing, I really thought of this as a "concept album", the concept being a science fiction movie that takes place in a future where (as opposed to most sci-fi movies) the universe is not dominated by descendants of white middle class Americans (like Star Trek), but by a truly polyglot culture descended mostly from Asian and Middle Eastern countries, where the interior spaces of starships look like giant bazaars where each culture claims its space, so you could be walking (or hovercrafting) through an area dominated by Persian rug sellers and turn a corner to find a bunch of Chinese gypsy hardware dealers...and as you move through the cultural enclaves you're constantly hearing the music shift and overlay bits and pieces from each heritage. Of course, there would have to be some plot about someone having stolen something, or kidnapped someone, and our hero, Dr. Maybe, would be charged with the detective work of unraveling the plot...I never worried about the details of the story, just used it as a creative device to get a coherent feel through the CD.” Fully exploring the realms of modern music, Kokoro Ire is a real treat for fans of genre-bending, experimental electric guitar sounds.



The Atomsmasher's Noisy Trade
(Noisy Trade)

An amazing album of guitar-based ambience that echoes the majestic ‘70s works of Fripp & Eno, the 2004 CD from Canadian guitarist David Barrett is a three part sixty minute masterpiece of dreamy guitar soundscapes. The moods on The Atomsmasher’s Noisy Trade are glacial and nocturnal while the shifting musical sands also summons the dark Teutonic electronica of Edgar Froese and Tangerine Dream. Emerging in the ‘90s with his solo New Age guitar sound, Barrett exceeds his earlier efforts with The Atomsmasher’s Noisy Trade. The three part sixty minute album shines a light on Barrett’s unique ability to combine experimental film soundtrack sounds into an orchestral, ambient context. Performed on Gibson guitars and recorded direct, Barrett’s sonic sojourn is greatly enhanced with a number of digital and vintage analog effects.


Cafe Romantico

One of the most prolific guitarists on the scene today, nylon string virtuoso Armik released yet another brilliant album in 2004. Quite possibly Armik’s most impassioned sounding album yet, Cafe Romantico presents an evocative collection of Nuevo flamenco guitar mixed in with Latin jazz and range of rumba rhythms. As always, Armik’s technical mastery of the guitar is quite evident and among the custom flamenco guitars Armik performs on Cafe Romantico are Conde Hermanos, Manuel Reyes and Pedro Maldonado guitars. When viewed as body of work, Armik’s six albums on Bolero combine for a most impressive repertoire of flamenco style instrumentals.


(Shadow Brook)

Few guitarists gigging today are as adept at merging classical guitar technique with the cutting edge frontiers of instrumental rock-jazz as well as New York based guitarist Dave Isaacs. On Flying, his second solo album release on his own Shadow Brook Records, Isaacs employs his various Parker guitars to great effect. Driving and atmospheric with a keen attention to melody, Dave’s guitar work on Flying blurs the lines between genres like classic rock, swamp blues, flamenco swing and even soundtrack instrumental. Having a great band—with Paul McCartney drummer Steve Holley and Bob Stander on bass—only adds to the enthusiasm on tap. An excellent CD for guitar instrumental fans, Flying is a well rounded set indeed.


By Night

He’s cited influences as diverse as Jeff Beck, Larry Carlton, Tommy Emmanuel, Robben Ford, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Alex Lifeson, Brian May and Stevie Ray Vaughan yet on his 2004 solo album, guitarist Roland Nipp never wears out his welcome. Crafting guitar instrumentals built to last is a difficult challenge at best, yet armed with memorable melodies and deft studio technique, Nipp puts it all into fitting perspective with the release of By Night. Writing, performing and producing the entire By Night CD himself, the Vancouver-based guitar player demonstrates an unerring ear for melodic invention from start to finish. From the album liner notes, Nipp adds, “Most of these songs were written and recorded in the evening aftermath of everyday life, or in the early morning hours when I should have been sleeping. May these hours be harmonious for you.” Inspired by a keen sense of high musical drama (there’s that Brian May influence), some bluesy belting (ala Stevie Ray) and, echoing the tactical studio precision of fretboard masters such as Jeff Beck, Nipp makes listening to By Night an audio pleasure worth repeating. A few years back, Nipp released his solo debut, The Blue Room and he admirably raises the stakes with the noteworthy guitar sounds of By Night.

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed in and 20th Century Guitar. Send to P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249

Attention Artists and Record Companies: Have your CD reviewed by Send to: CD Reviews Editor Robert Silverstein, P.O. Box 630249, Little Neck, N.Y. 11363-0249