Abstract Expression to be featured on Delicious Agony
By Dave on Sunday, March 1st 2009 11:23 pm
Abstract Expression will be featured on the March 8th edition of The Richter Scale. Rick's show airs every Sunday 6-9pm EST and again Monday 11am-2pm EST on Delicious Agony Radio.
Rick is a great DJ and always has an interesting collection of music so check it out if you can.
Update: Here is the review of AE Rick (host of The Richter Scale) wrote up back in 2007.
Here's a review of "Abstract Expression", a new CD from Dave Kulju. I picked this up without knowing anything about it being released. I have the Electrum "Standard Deviation" CD, and find that fairly interesting. That's Dave with a couple of bandmates from 2002. It's kind of fusion, but a bit more experimental.
Having a bit of predjudice about what I was expecting, I was thrown off. AE is a wonderful instrumental record that never bores. Dave brings some great ideas and mixes them with some unusual patterns that makes a winning combination.
The CD opens with "Internal Combustion", which is representative of the great fusion discs. It has a bouncy, happy driving feel like a Frank Gambale piece. However, most of the instruments are Dave (except for Bryan Powers on drums, this tune and next) - that gives it more of a song structure instead of a wankfest. The use of keys in the bridges is a great touch. Some soloing throughout, but not overbearing. A great opener.
"Don't Mind Me" is a song that takes you back a few years in its style. A nice, easy start with lots of full chords and piano (I'm a sucker for piano). The connections between verses are very post-Counterparts Rush, with the bounce on the bass and the full guitar. About the three-minute mark Dave throws in a ass-kicking solo, just when you get comfortable. There's a lot of this surprise on AE, some unusual patterns. I find this almost a necessity on an instrumental record to keep the interest throughout. The Rush-guitar reappears to finish off the song.
"Hieland Road" trades off on alternately complex and simple verses. It appears from the liner notes that this is a one-man song. The midsection has a little "YYZ" action...you'll understand when you hear it. After that another sweet lead, one of the best I've heard here. Supported beautifully by the drumming and the acoustic guitar. Another winner of a song.
"Pleiades" (not the King's X song!) meanders until a nice lead about the two and a half minute mark, then another fast lead at four minutes changes thing up yet again. Back to the main theme after that, it's over before you realize.
"Depth of Autumn" starts off slow, then moves into a standard fusion verse (I hear Gambale, Morse, etc again). Yet another nice, subtle lead comes in to save the song when it starts to drag. Frank Basile's drumming on this is excellent. He plays drums on cuts 4-7.
"Picnic At the Slag Heap" is a two-minute hoot. Joel Mahathy does a Goodsall impression on a ripping lead, supported by Theremin (also played by Joel). A good one to keep you on your toes.
"The Main Attaction" has a carnival-like organ line that is the basis for the first verse. It's not exactly 4/4, but I can't tell you what it is (I'm not a musician). I was starting to have this song figured out, but it changes consistently throughout and you need to pay attention to follow it. That makes sense after I read that it's the only collaboratively written song. The chorus reminds of something, but I'll probably figure it out next year. If I had to compare the song to anything, it would fit well on a Djam Karet record. A song that I thought would bore me but turned out to be one of the best on the CD.
"Somnium" is 15 minutes in length. Doug Upton plays a bit of Organ, but otherwise it's all Dave. The Electrum disc has a long Kulju-penned song also. That is heavier at the beginning and the end, a bit bombastic, with a long mellow middle section.This song is quite different. After a minute or so of setup, a standard evil sounding very Prog theme appears. Several shape-shifts continue, keeping the song very Prog and very interesting. It's a demanding piece on the ear. Evil theme comes back briefly at the five-minute mark, then a nice, short National Health part. Up to seven and a half it rocks, then it crashes into a wall...with some nice keyboard-dominated passages for a few more minutes. Then crank it up! We're taken home with some exciting music, including the Organ solo and some fine combinations of guitar and keys, especially the closing guitar solo (before the theme refrain). A song that will be on your shuffle for a long time (not mine...I don't own an ipod).
Closing out the disc is "The Water Discipline". Another solo effort, it's sort of Pastoral, that is very inoffensive. A great song to hear while just waking up camping. I think it's a drum machine, but it doesn't detract from the song.
I usually don't have time to write reviews, but this is a CD that needs some love. I hope you find it as rewarding to hear as I do. Thanks to Dave for a great effort, and hope that his next one is easier to find than this one!
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