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TRACK LIST: 1. Touch the Sky 2. Torches 3. Dark Aqua 4. Happy Show 5. Burgundy Mist 6. Scatterbrain 7. Africa 8. Angel 9. Velvet 10. Crash & Burn 11. In the Mirror 12. Bourbon Street 13. Whole Stepping 14. Walkaway 15. Tinted Windows 16. Rescue Me 17. Loralie All tracks: by Campese. Produced & engineered by Campese. SOLO PILOT: Mike Campese - - electric, acoustic & bass guitars; - keyboards; programming; vocals
Prolusion. "Full Circle" is the second solo album by the US multi-instrumentalist and composer Mike CAMPESE. The other solo efforts by Campese are "Total Freedom" (1997) and "Vibe" (2004), though his general discography features no less than a dozen albums. For more info, please check a link to Mike's official website closer to the bottom of the page.
Synopsis. The album consists of seventeen tracks, six of which are songs, and is very diverse in styles, to put it mildly. In other words, it's too stylistically motley and sounds like a compilation presenting a wide variety of different musical directions. No, I don't mean that the stylistic multiplicity is necessarily a drawback, but here, the dissimilarity between tracks is so striking that I perceive the material as a manual for the novice music lovers and musicians alike rather than as an album as such. So instead of reviewing the thing in every detail, I'll better dwell on those tracks that I find remarkable from any standpoint. The classically influenced Happy Snow (4) is one of the most interesting pieces. In some ways, it reminds me of Robert Fripp's "The Bridge Between", which presents Maestro playing the works of Bach on guitar. Though, of course, the fact that Happy Snow is Mike's original composition gives a special sense to it. Velvet (9) is an amazing fretwork of passages of acoustic and solos of electric guitar. While slow and relaxing, Bourbon Street (12), fluidly flowing into another interesting piece, Whole Stepping, is full of sincere charm and beauty, as well as the last track Loraille, which is an appropriate ending for this assortment. The very short Africa sounds like an intro to another track, but not to the following one. Almost all of the tracks with vocals are pop, pop-Rock, etc songs or ballads. The only positive 'exceptions' here are the feeling bluesy Burgundy Mist (5) and, in a less degree, Rescue Me (16). It's about somewhat of an experimental pop and is marked with an original melodic line, but there is very little place for its proper development, though, perhaps, it was not even intended to unfold it. As a result, some of the tracks on "Full Circle" are as if in a fool circle, remaining in an embryonic state, at least from a progressive standpoint, no offense intended.
Conclusion. The material clearly shows that Mike Campese is a fount of original and, often, highly innovative ideas, who, however, didn't have enough patience to evolve them. Otherwise he would have created three excellent albums on its basis. Mike has just to steel himself when working on the further projects if he has a wish to fill the niche in progressive music that he is more than merely worthy of.
VM: June 9, 2004
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