Seems Mark Wingfield loves to keep himself busy. So here is his next release on Moonjune. Joining him are the familiar faces of Yaron Stavi (bass), Asaf Sirkis (drums) and special guest Dominique Vantomme (keyboard solos on several tracks).
Alas the recently discussed Dwiki Dharmawan album (also from Moonjune, and same rhythm section) did not do much for me. Thankfully this one is a lot easier to get into. Here songs do have structures and hooks I recognize after a few plays, making my listening a much more pleasant experience.
Mark has a very fluid style, vaguely reminiscent of one Jeff Beck. But there is room for all involved to shine. Because we all know these are experienced musicians whose playing capabilities are beyond any doubt. So besides the intricate solo (and rhythm) parts of Wingfield, there are also some expert bass playing and drumming parts to enjoy.
What also helps is that most songs range between 5 to 8 minutes, staying away from endless improvisation. Still, at least for me, the most important part is that the tracks resonate with me after a couple of plays. The moods are often a bit melancholic, with Mark’s guitar really ‘singing’. Try for instance Sunlight Cafe.
Maybe not for everyone, even when they like instrumental guitar music. But sure worth checking if you have an open mind!
To avoid confusion, the full artist introduction ought to be Mark Wingfield with Yaron Stavi and Asaf Sirkis. With Wingfield being the guitar player, Stavi the bassist and Sirkis the drummer. So we have a trio, the label is Moonjune Records; this can only lead to one conclusion, instrumental fusion.
And yes it is. It had been a while since a fresh batch of Moonjune releases dropped in the mailbox, and it seemed I had grown a bit out of touch with this music. Because it took me quite some time to start to appreciate (some of) the music on offer. Main reason for that is that this feels very loose and improvised. And to these ears sometimes just comes across as unstructured noise. But then you know you have to dig in deep and hold on. Only thus the art will reveal itself…
Wingfield sometimes has an almost synthesiser like tone in his guitar playing, just listen to that in opener Mars Saffron. In Restless Mountains I am sometimes reminded of the fretwork of Steve Vai, with all the bending and high pitched notes. Maybe also a bit of Jeff Beck because of that. Not bad references at all I guess. No denying that these are seasoned players that challenge each other or glue together. Lots of dynamics as usual in this genre.
In the end it becomes clear why the press sheet speaks so highly of this album. This is innovative and special. But to truly appreciate it, you really have to expose yourself repeatedly!