Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 11:39
Artist: Past The Mark
CD Title: Hakhel Tribulation
Reviewer: Reg Davey
Past The Mark is the transatlantic collaboration between Italian guitar virtuoso Vincenzo Pastano and Grammy award-winning producer Marc Urselli (Sting, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, et al). Upon first listen, its an interesting little smorgasbord of musical stylings. The fact that it has been released on the label "Nu-Jazz" should give you an idea of what this is going to be like: Not really chart material, rather a musical journey into some sort of pastoral soundscape.
I'll be honest, I've never heard of Pastano before (hardly surprising, he is listed as a "session musician"), but Urselli I've come across before on "American Made, World Played" (Les Paul & Friends). But I have to say I'm very impressed with the guy. He can really play a mean tune, bringing to mind a young Steve Vai or Santana. This, to be quite blunt, is musicians music.
There are points in the album where it's very withdrawn and introspective, and points where it just lets loose in ways that are, well, to be honest, rare. There are even slight electronic influences in some songs (opening track "Oz on the moon", especially). And on "Tortellini Blues" there's a beautiful, schizophrenic kind of disconnection going on. Kind of reminded me of Primus almost. And thats just a small part of the influnces on play here on the album. You know what? I'd be willing to bet that this album will become a huge critical hit.
Drawing on obvious influences from the solo-efforts of "proper" musicians (see Steve Vai for example), this is an album that immediately intrigues me. Being honest, I like stuff like this every now anad again: music that just lets you turn it on, tune out and keep in the background. The production on it is absolutely lavish, with depth and clarity that's hard to find these days sadly.
And that is also where the album may be said to be weakest, the fact that it may very well never be appreciated by the majority of people who listen. Which trust me, in my eyes can be a better thing for music sometimes. Especially when it's music this, well... beautiful.
To not like this album, or at least appreciate it for what it is, would be like having the desire to kick a puppy in front of a girl scout.
All in all, an astounding debut effort from Past The Mark.