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(42:18, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Hemavati 3:43 2. Island 5:33 3. Good Afternoon 2:25 4. Vivada Swara 5:39 5. Morning Sun 4:14 6. La Morena 5:46 7. The Other Side 5:14 8. Lili's Day-1 2:49 9. Lili's Day-2 2:28 10. Lili's Day-3 1:50 11. Lili's Day-4 2:37 LINEUP: Gadi Caplan guitars, bass; synthesizer Duncan Wickel violin, viola, cello Danny Abowd vocals; trombone Bruno Esrubilsky drums; congas Jesse Gottlieb trumpet; vocals Jonathan Greenstein sax Christian Li keyboards Jay Gandhi flute
Prolusion. The US-based composer and guitarist Gadi CAPLAN, originally a native of Israel, ventured out on a solo career back in 2011 with the album "Opposite Views". Two years later he returned with "Look Back Step Forward", an album that saw him signed to the French Label Musea Records. "Morning Sun" is Gadi's third solo album, and was released in the spring of 2016 through the aforementioned label.
Analysis. The third album by Caplan is a delightful experience in so many ways. The music is fairly delicate by nature, or most of it anyway, and it is refreshing to hear an artist that uses subtle details and careful effects throughout to create tension, and then in a delicate manner and in arrangements with lots of air and space to boot. This is music that doesn't overpower you in any way whatsoever; its easy on the mind and the ear, yet contains enough details and development to keep most progressive rock fans very happy. Gently wandering guitar motifs appear to be a specialty of Caplan, and the greater amounts of the compositions are dominated by his careful guitar playing. Soft, careful and emotional lead and backing vocals supplement the material brilliantly, as does a rhythm section operating on a less is more principle as a general rule, from what I can tell. On some songs the drums in particular manage to sneak into the songs without you even noticing until you suddenly realize that there's a drum pattern present now that wasn't there half a minute ago. Occasional gliding, mournful guitar solos do make appearances, some of the songs developing into a more majestic arrangement. La Morena is a brilliant example of just that, but the greater amount of songs stay fairly delicate for the greater amount of playtime. In terms of style, they reside somewhere on the borders between jazz, world music and psychedelic rock, dipping some toes into each of those, but without venturing deep inside any of them an interesting experience in itself, hearing just how little that separates these three forms. The album does have a turning point though, where everything changes. The more Americana-oriented track The Other Side marks that point, a composition that is followed by a four-part instrumental mini-epic, which explores territories of a rather different and somewhat more dramatic nature. Again a type of music really hard to pinpoint, and where my impression is that it is how this composition develops and where it ends up that is more important than whatever styles that have been incorporated into it. Rather than to attempt going in detail on that one, I'd just conclude that it is an elegant and haunting journey into the heart of darkness a striking instrumental with clear and marked differences in arrangements, mood and atmosphere between all four parts.
Conclusion. Careful and delicate compositions dominate the greater part of Caplan's third solo album, and even when the compositions take on a more dramatic type of music, it is never overpowering or overly dramatic. Tasteful, elegant and very well performed progressive rock is the name of the game here, gentle yet subtly complex, elegant and sophisticated. An album for progressive rock fans fond of music of a more careful nature, effortlessly blending and alternating between the realms of psychedelic, jazz and world music as explored in a careful and delicate progressive rock framework.
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