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(35:33, ‘Hans Platz’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Birdrange 2:58 2. Spanish Race on a Devil's Highway 4:04 3. Pull It Out 3:24 4. Father 3:30 5. Red Room Nine 3:30 6. Axetasy 1:49 7. Freak Sauna 3:24 8. Deadman 2:59 9. Timestamps 3:53 10. This Is War 2:35 11. Alive 3:27 LINEUP: Hans Platz – guitars Marco Minnemann – drums With: Wolfgang Haffner - drums Mattias Eklundh - guitars Pete Griffin – bass &: A few more musicians
Prolusion. German composer and musician Hans PLATZ has a fairly long history behind him as a member of various German bands, and arguably best known among those is Feuerschwanz due to two of their albums faring rather well in the sales charts. "Timestamps" is his first solo album, and was self-released in 2013.
Analysis. When exploring the contents of this fairly short production, it won't take long before the expression guitar hero pops up. Platz is a guitarist, all his compositions are instrumental, and the guitar does indeed dominate the proceedings through and through. There is room for both the different drummers and bassists contributing to shine, but never in a similar manner to Platz and his guitars. A description that presumably should narrow down the potential audience for this CD straight away, I imagine. As far as such ventures go, I'm again lucky enough to encounter a guitarist that is much more than a one trick pony. Platz knows his stuff, and he is rather eager to showcase his abilities and his versatility on this production. He's a more than competent rhythm guitarist, always taking care to include one or more supporting layers to his soloing. Massive, purebred metal riffs are produced with the same ease as dark, compact riff constructions that rely more on pace and energy than powerful sound surges, and he's not a stranger to hit calmer landscapes either, with delicate plucked guitars relying on resonances to craft a compelling foundation and more pace-filled, most likely technically challenging wandering guitar motifs as recurring features. For the latter, calmer sequences a touch of jazz rock will often appear, and in between the calmer sections and the metal based powerful runs there's also room for some literally speaking funky detours. On top of this varied landscape Platz documents his skills and versatility as a solo guitarist to good effect. Elegant, melody based runs that come with instant Satriani associations are just as common as neo-classical excursions that bring the likes of MacAlpine to mind (old school references, I know), and with a fair amount of shredding thrown in for good measure. Elegant, dreamladen constructions may supplement the calmer, jazz rock oriented passages, and plucked, elegant guitar soloing is also well within Platz’s abilities in the guitar solo department. The impressive details that make me enjoy this production are how Platz utilized recurring themes and motifs to give the songs a stronger identity, combined with his constraint: he doesn't overly explores any of the themes and lead motifs. In addition he has a slight penchant for the unexpected, not always hitting a guitar solo of the expected type, developing his compositions in somewhat unexpected manners, and generally seeing to it that his versatility is something of a key feature throughout. With top notch support musicians and a high quality mix and production as well there's really nothing lacking on this album as such, apart from the truly breathtaking songs. As enjoyable as this album is, I didn't encounter anything on it that gave me massive goosebumps and that need to play a song again straight away, which for me marks the difference between something that is really good and what is truly exquisite. "Timestamps" is a high quality CD though, as long as you have a taste for music of this kind.
Conclusion. This German musician joins the ranks of guitar heroes with a rather impressive debut album. "Timestamps" is not be the longest CD out there, but his short compositions manage to convey his talents as a songwriter and especially as a performer to very good effect. An album with a foundation in metal, but touching upon both jazz rock and funk frequently, and with plenty of variety and versatility in both support instrument and lead instrument performance and expression. As far as recommendations go, fans of instrumental guitar albums in general and metal-oriented ones in particular can note down that this is a production they will most likely enjoy.
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