A spectacular work
Post modernist music -
enjoyed by REX HARLEY
'... Nicolella's tremendous virtuosity ...'
Transit is a post-modernist piece, par excellence. And
if you think that sounds a bit high-flown, wait till you read the sleeve
notes! There is only one performer involved: the remarkably versatile, Seattle-based
guitarist Michael Nicolella. All other 'instrumentation' is computer
generated, and programmed by the composer, John Fitz Rogers, and, like it
or loathe it, this is a spectacular work.
On one level, the title can simply be taken to refer to the 'cross-over'
nature of the music, but this is nothing like the kind of synthesis one
normally associates with the rock/classical fusion. For one thing, the piece
is more than a set of separate movements; it's actually quite tightly
constructed. For another, it's rhythmically extremely complex in places,
and harmonically challenging. It's contemporary. It's experimental.
But the liner notes also make a point of telling us that the instruments
involved are a Gibson 'Les Paul', a Fender Stratocaster and a
1950's Guild guitar, names that will set the hair tingling on any rock
Be warned then. If you're a purist, you'll probably hate what
you hear; if you're musically a pluralist, especially one whose life-span
covers the '60s and '70s, you're in for a treat. Various
guitar styles are showcased, but none is a pastiche. Where I think I can
hear references to Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, Steve Miller, Larry Coryell,
Pat Metheny and, of course, Jimi Hendrix, another listener will no doubt
find a handful of other names I've either forgotten or don't know.
Copyright © 19 March 2003
Rex Harley, Cardiff, UK