Michael DeLalla

Soli

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One of the very best acoustic guitarists in the world, Michael DeLalla provides 11 examples of gorgeously intricate solo guitar compositions. The mysterious and otherworldly, polyrhythmic textures of "Le Marchais du Malaucene" sets the tone for a set that transcends traditional notions of the guitar with profoundly beautiful arrangements. Having spent considerable time playing traditional Celtic music, DeLalla masterfully maneuvers the elegant arrangements of traditional material like "Shebeg and Shemore" and the bittersweet "The Wild Geese." The pristine gracefulness of "Lauren Grace" is indicative of the control DeLalla exhibits over his own skill, not allowing the pieces to get lost in flurries of flashy technique (though there is a good deal of that, too). Using paper clips in "Piece for Steel Drum (If I Played Steel Drum)" actually does make his guitar sound like a steel drum, showing a fine sense for innovation. Even so, DeLalla's greatest talent may be in transcending traditional stylings. A certain country-blues quality is buried deep inside "Catnapping," employing alternate tuning and impressive chiming technique to create warmly comforting sounds. For those normally off-put by guitar instrumentals for their occasional meandering quality, these tracks should be extremely accessible, as DeLalla wastes no energy in extended improvisation and retains a melodic focus. All in all, Soli is mood music of the most exquisite order.

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