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TRACK LIST: 1. The Moon Is Falling 3:55 2. Fire Island 5:03 3. Euphoria 3:57 4. Translucent 3:32 5. 9/11 3:47 6. Join Us 4:32 7. The Great Og 3:43 8. Baboons Are Dangerous 3:29 9. Antonia 4:05 10. Confessions 4:45 11. Snoop 4:24 12. Maybe Just at Parties 4:58 13. Kaleidoscope 6:47 14. Lull 3:16 All tracks: by Hoekstra. LINE-UP: Joel Hoekstra - guitar Virgil Donati - drums Ric Fiorabracci - bass Chris Grove - keyboards With: Dan Cipriano - flutes & saxophones (on many tracks) Jay Cappo - keyboards (11, 12, 13) Produced & engineered by Hoekstra & T. J. Helmerich.
Prolusion. "The Moon Is Falling" is the second album by the American guitarist and composer Joel Hoekstra. The review of his >first album I have written previously to this one.
Synopsis. If I say that the new Joel Hoekstra album is a step forward in comparison with its predecessor, I will say almost nothing. "The Moon Is Falling" is not only in every respect better than "Undefined", but also is one of the most original and impressive albums I've heard this year, at least. Two out of the fourteen compositions here (all are full instrumental this time): Antonia and Lull (9 & 14) are wonderful, beautiful, very tasteful guitar Art-Rock-based ballads giving the listener some rest in this world of unusual, quite tense, and amazingly innovative music. The other twelve compositions are entities of a unified stylistics representing an extremely unique amalgam of both of the guitar and symphonic kinds of Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Cathedral Metal, and Fifth Element, all of which was from the outset blessed by charisma. (Although the quantity of elements of each of the said genres is variable on different tracks, all of this has on the whole a slight influence upon the state of the album's predominant stylistics.) The sound is very unexpected, to say the least. It is definitely new, clearly modern, and is always diverse and, at the same time, very attractive. All the arrangements on the album are certainly and by all means progressive, and yet, they've been 'constructed' way different than those in classic forms of Progressive Rock. Most of the tracks here consist of arrangements that are marvelously both powerful and atmospheric, and some, in addition, are notable for being lightly touched by music of the East. While the parts of the main soloing instruments: guitar, bass and, in a less degree, keyboards and flutes can be fast in places, the music is basically either slow or mid-tempo. Fantastically inventive, very tasteful, mostly dramatic and, often, quite dark, it is just filled with mystery, magic, and almost physically perceptible hypnotism.
Conclusion. I experienced great pleasure in listening to Joel Hoekstra's "The Moon Is Falling", which is interesting from the first to the last note. I can't compare it with anything else, not to mention the works of so-called electric guitar heroes such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Tony MacAlpine, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc. This is an astonishingly fresh sounding album, and I just haven't heard anything like this until now. Highly recommended, of course.
VM: October 17, 2003
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