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TRACK LIST: 1. Friday 4:57 2. Real 5:38 3. Monotonous Regards 4:51 4. Funky Boy 3:46 5. Crimson Macrowave 5:13 6. Transformer 4:05 7. Dying Dolphin 4:13 8. Trance Insert 5:53 9. Macabre 5:23 10. Ultrablank 7:44 LINEUP: Jake Pashkin – guitars; keyboards; programming Dmitry Kupriyanov – bass Timur Afaunov – drums
Prolusion. Jake PASHKIN is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist from the Russian Federation. "Prequel" is his debut album, released in 2007.
Analysis. For the last 20 years or so, there a staggering amount of albums have been released with guitar-dominated instrumental music exploring a style mixing hard rock with heavy metal, highlighting the guitarists' technique as well as compositional skills. Most often these releases are dominated by the technical aspects of guitar playing, with speed and the ability to perform advanced segments the most important aspects of these releases, with descriptions of being self-indulgent never being far behind when detailing. Jake Pashkin is the first artist based in the Russian Federation I have come across making this kind of album, and I'm very happy to be able to say that this is an artist not afraid to venture outside the box, so to speak. The traditionalist crowd does get quite a few pieces here that should be appealing, though; there are some rockers as well as slower, mellower tunes that aren't too experimental. Pashkin shows off some nice chops, melodies and solos on these pieces, but with some minor details added compared to other artists exploring the same genre. One such detail is the guitar sound itself: warm, pleasant, but also slightly more distorted than ordinary. The melody lines, segments and solos are a tad more quirky and complex than what you'll find on the average CD in this genre; Pashkin is fond of using slightly fragmented segments rather than longer explorations, adding a nice drive and intensity to his compositions. That the evolution of the songs at times is a bit unexpected due to this technique is a big plus in my opinion. Keyboards and synthesizers add textures to the tunes of a kind not too often found on similar releases, giving the music a slight electronic leaning at times. What really make this album stand out are the more experimental tunes, though. The pieces where most elements common to this style of music are twisted, changed or left out, and a completely different musical world is explored; where the guitar is more fragmented than ever, while supplying riffs, licks or solos; where disharmonic and dissonant elements are added, while at the same time staying melodic. Segments evolving towards cacophony never actually entering such a mood, but staying pretty close at times; songs where the synths get a more major role, in supplying rhythms, moods, melodies and effects, adding psychedelic, spacey and industrial leanings to the tunes. These compositions, best exemplified by the brilliant Dying Dolphin, are unpredictable, fascinating and wild. Often I got the impression that this is what it would sound like if Ozric Tentacles, Hawkwind and Joe Satriani (or perhaps Steve Vai) ever met up for a jam session.
Conclusion. A prequel is a work describing events that have happened in the past, a pre-history of current events. And with a prequel such as this, I can't wait to be able to discover what is current in the musical world of Jake Pashkin. This album is of course given a high recommendation from me, to liberal-minded fans of instrumental metal in particular and fans of experimental instrumental rock in general.
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