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Tracklist: 1. The Journey 2:52 2. Late Show-1 3:58 3. Cause & Effect 2:57 4. Christmas Memory 1:07 5. Inevitability 1:50 6. Blind Spot 5:16 7. Part of a Process 3:58 8. Hands On Hands Off 3:18 9. Return 4:24 10. Persona 2:17 11. Numerology 4:43 12. Black Middens 5:02 13. Eastern View 4:26 14. Late Show-2 3:01 15. Transmission 5:17 Written, arranged, performed, engineered, & produced by P. Rose.
Prologue. According to the booklet of this CD, "Late Show" is the fifth album by the guitarist-individualist Paul Rose and his first for Hi-Note Music. I have never heard of this artist before writing this review. As most of us well know, the Ambient Solo Pilots fly not too high just because of they're Solo Pilots to Ambience. Though maybe Paul Rose flies higher than his brothers in 'arms' and is a real higher-up among them. Let's see...
The Album. Only five out of the fifteen tracks that are presented on "Late Show" were performed with the use of a drum machine. However, its presence here is, IMHO, unnecessary, to say the least, as it sounds poor and very monotonous on each of these five tracks: The Journey, Late Show-1, Blind Spot, Part of a Process, and Hands On Hands Off (1, 2, 6, 7, & 8). Nevertheless, all five of these pieces feature slightly more diverse arrangements than most of the other tracks on the album. Which, above all, is because of the solos of bass guitar interplay with those of lead guitar everywhere where they are. (And they are only on seven tracks here.) The passages of synthesizer serve for the most part as a background for interplay between both of the said guitars, though the solos of electric guitar play certainly a prominent role in the arrangements throughout the album. Apart from a lead electric guitar, Paul plays sometimes a semi-acoustic guitar, and also, from time to time, demonstrates his skill to play with flageolets and elicit various (echo-like, etc) sounds from his guitar. In other words, there are lots of the so-called soundscapes on this album. It must be said that most of the tracks on this album feature the arrangements that, overall, are tranquil and slow (sometimes, very slow) from the first to the last note. Only the parts of lead guitar and bass (there where they are) can be not only slow, but also mid-tempo and even fast, which, though, happen rarely on "Late Show". The only diverse and by all means noticeable composition among the aforementioned five tracks is Part of a Process (7). This is one of the two pieces on the album that are of a dramatic character, and the excellent guitar solos that are featured on it can hardly be called differently than crying. Cause & Effect and Eastern View (3 & 13) were performed without a drum machine. Both of them feature the solos of electric and bass guitar and passages of synthesizer and interplay between them as well. However, there is a huge difference between these two pieces. The first of them is quite short and very simple. Whereas Eastern View is filled with very rich arrangements consisting of rather diverse interplay between various (fluid and fast, yet, always virtuosi) solos of electric guitar, those of bass and passages of semi-acoustic guitar and synthesizer. This track, which is the second and the last composition of a dramatic character on the album, is full of wonderful mystery and Eastern flavors. Along with the said Part of a Process and another piece, which I'll describe a bit later, Eastern View is one of the three hallmarks of "Late Show". All eight of the remaining tracks: Christmas Memory, Inevitability, Return, Persona, Numerology, Black Middens, Late Show-2, and Transmission (4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, & 15), were performed without the rhythm-section at all. With the exception of Late Show-2 (14), all of them consist only of various, yet, almost always calm guitar-based soundscapes and very slowly moving amorphous passages of synthesizer, most of which were used here just as a background. Late Show-2 is the third remarkable composition on the album. Apart from the fluid solos of guitar and slow passages of synthesizer, it features also very tasteful solos and passages of electric piano and organ, as well as varied interplay between all of the said instruments.
Summary. I mentioned more than once that, on the whole, I don't regard Ambient, etc musical styles as progressive. Paul Rose's "Late Show" however, is one of a few of the ambient albums, the contents of which, overall, conform to my conception of a proto-progressive Ambient. Furthermore, three compositions on it are in many ways close to a real Symphonic Progressive. So, on the whole, I find "Late Show" by no means a weak album (even from the progressive standpoint of view, of course).
VM. September 17, 2002
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