Happy New Year
By Dave on Monday, December 31st 2007 11:40 pm
Best wishes for 2008 and all that.
Since I'm not one to go out on a drinking binge, I'm home working on some new music. I've been spending most of December coming up with new ideas for a piece that is turning out to be quite lengthy and will in all likelihood include vocals [gasp!]. Which I suppose means I'll have to change the banner up at the top to say Mostly Instrumental Progressive Rock.
Anyway the new piece isn't ready for sharing yet but I've got roughly the first 12 minutes arranged and several more ideas left to incorporate. Most of the writing has been done on piano and a little on bass. For lyrics I've been playing around with the idea of adapting some Anne Sexton poetry. I'm no expert on literature but it appears she is best known for tackling controversial topics. Personally I just like the way she arranges words in ways that are unusual and grammatically strange but evoke strong images. I found a poem called "Young" that I really like some of the imagery in and I like some of the rhythmic structures.
Progression: "Kulju... serves us up with a winner"
By Dave on Wednesday, November 14th 2007 10:11 pm
Today in the mail the Fall 2007 issue of Progression Magazine arrived. John McLaughlin is the cover story and there is an interview with Rick Wakeman. And amongst the many reviews is one on Abstract Expression.
Sound: 3.5 of 4 stars
Composition: 3 of 4 stars
Musicianship: 4 of 4 stars
Performance 3.5 of 4 stars
Overall 14 of 16 stars
Artists who draw inspiration from Rush are on the incline, while the multitudes who plunder the temple of Genesis are (finally) dwindling. This do-it-yourselfer (with a little outside assistance) from Electrum guitarist Dave Kulju falls into the former category, and he serves us up with a winner.
In an interesting way, Abstract Expression is an unrelated near twin to the Speechless disc I spun last quarter. Kulju likes to interject hairier riffs at more frequent junctures ("Pleiades", "Picnic at the Slag Heap") than the Atlanta group, but like Mr. Tonar, eschews flashy soloing in favor of meaningful thematic development. Close analysis reveals "Hieland Road" to posses an architecture unconsciously similar to Rush's YYZ. The 15-minute arches through a widely varying series of moods and 'tudes with pleasingly cohesive symphonic rock structure.
Abstract Expression lies on the cusp of being a phenomenal achievement, as this is practically a one-man show. But Kulju, like most overachieving mega talents, couldn't but help himself by featuring even more involvement from other musicians.
It is very nice to read those kinds of things, but what is really strange is that the 14 star rating puts AE on a theoretical equal footing with Mike Keneally's classic Hat and Tony Levin's latest Stickman which are both reviewed on the same page and also received 14 stars. Lofty company to be compared to.
While I don't fancy myself an "overachieving mega talent" I do heartily agree with John that the album would have been better served if I had featured more guest performances. The only thing getting in the way of that is logistics.
The opening about the Genesis vs Rush camps is a coincidence - two of my favorite records are Genesis Foxtrot and Rush Permanent Waves. Since my main instrument is guitar there is more similarity in my sound to the latter than the former.
Oh and in gear news I recently acquired a Pearce G2R guitar amp and I'm pretty excited about that. A terrific sounding amplifier designed by Dan Pearce. His company went under long ago but the amps still fetch a decent chunk of change on ebay. I'll write more about it later once I've had some more time to get acquainted.
Also after recently watching a documentary on Robert Moog (who was my electronics instructor at UNC-Asheville) I'm really wanting a minimoog voyager!
Vote for top 100 Progressive albums of the year
By Dave on Monday, November 5th 2007 2:05 am
Gagliarchives Radio in Philly is holding their annual poll for the top 100 progressive albums of the year. Gagliarchives features music from the CDs that make the list on a special 3 part program at the end of the year.
Feel free to, ya know, click here and vote for Abstract Expression. Poll closes November 23rd.
By Dave on Saturday, November 3rd 2007 1:17 am
Distributors: Musea Records and Guitar Euro Shop are now carrying Abstract Expression. Both vendors are based in France.
Live Studio Drums: I am this month's featured artist for Live Studio Drums. This is the blurb from their mailing.
Instrumental progressive-rock artist Dave Kulju has just released his new CD, Abstract Expression. Dave used LSD multitrack drums on four songs on the new disc.
"Frank's creative and solid playing really breathed life into my music," commented the Rochester, NH based solo artist. "When I re-tracked my parts to his drums it inspired better performances from me. Obviously the service is extremely convenient and affordable so it is a great alternative to recording a local drummer in my small studio," added Dave.
Electrum: We have been jamming, rehearsing, and working on new material through the fall. We have about 5 songs in various states of
de-composition. Once the holidays hit we will be taking a little break till the weather warms up. We rehearse in Gino's unheated garage and I can't play guitar in mittens.
Autumn Special: Abstract Expression for $6
By Dave on Thursday, October 11th 2007 11:38 pm
We are just going into peak foliage season around these parts and it occurred to me today while I was walking the dog and checking out the maple trees that it might be appropriate to have a sale to honor the occasion.
These two weeks are some of the nicest days in New England. The landscape explodes with color, the days are usually marked by cloudless skies and light jacket temperatures while the nights are cool and crisp - a well deserved break from the late summer muggies.
As I end up with an abundance of oak leaves in my yard by late October, I also have an abundance of CDs in my basement. So come take some off my hands please (the CDs that is, I'll deal with the leaves).
So from now till I have to get serious about raking I'm reducing the price on Abstract Expression to 6 bucks (down from $9.99). Still free shipping within North America. Also it seemed appropriate to offer up the track Depth of Autumn as a free mp3, so enjoy.
Nearby hiking trail on the Isinglas River.
[update 10.14.2007: added more pictures below the fold from a hike my wife, my dog, and I took today on the Isinglas]
By Dave on Sunday, October 7th 2007 1:30 am
I've picked up a couple of Distributors in France so now you folks on the other side of the pond don't have to pay for and wait for the shipping.
Leurs sites Web sont écrits en français.