Giltrap, Gordon - Fear of the Dark (special)
Unique progressive rock in that Giltrap started as a folkie and still basically performs solely on acoustic guitar. The best music that you can use as music to a nice dinner party you will ever hear!
"Gordon Giltrap's "Fear Of The Dark" is exactly what you'd expect from a self-taught guitar virtuoso with medieval/folkie inclinations who falls in with people who do music for TV, in 1978. I've loved this record since I first heard it 19 years ago, and I'm delighted to have a copy, not just a cassette dub. It was worth the wait. Giltrap's guitar playing, mostly accoustic, some electric, is stunning. The production gloss is so high you can just about see your reflection, and the drums/bass/keyboards/string section is tight, well rehearsed and to the point. There's real musical value in the composition and arangement, not just boogie-ing on. The title track, in particular, simply defies categorization. It starts with an apeggio worthy of Strunz and Farah or the Gipsy Kings- the tune is carried on the modulation of the modulation of the notes. He's THAT fast. The wall-of-progressive-sound drums/ bass/keyboards comes in behind that and sketches a counterpoint in two parts. Did I mention the glockenspiel? A keyboard picks up the original arpeggio and suddenly an electric guitar takes off on another related melody, over a disco beat! By the three minute mark we're into a third movement, which sounds like an ending, but picks up and moves to a duet for acoustic guitar carrying melody over an an acoustic piano arpeggio. Strings, electric guitar, all kinds of percussion are layed on, another ending, this one with a non-vocal chorus. A long, long, ending, full of detail and nuance. A whole 'nother tune, really, a fourth movement. What is this like? Like nothing you've ever heard before. Like Latimer and Bardens from Camel decided to write THEIR version of "Quadrophenia" and hired John Williams, the guitarist, not the Boston Pops conductor, to play it. Like movie music for a big-budget production of "Nine Princes In Amber", directed by Kurosawa. The juxtipositions are fearless, and inspired. The rest of the tracks are similarly wild mixes, based on incredible guitar playing, tight, focused back-up and fair-to-middling composition. Melody, rhythm and counterpoint move between the acoustic guitars, the keyboards, electric guitars, string sections. Sometimes the drummer counts time, tock-tock-tock. Everything is VERY crisp.... A true original that has only improved in the 22 years since it was recorded."-W.B. Abott