David Becker Tribune


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The popular modern fusion guitarist's new disc comes highly touted as a technological achievement (more about the music later). It was recorded with DVD 5.1 sound technology, which means it's capable of six-channel surround sound with fidelity far superior to normal discs. Assuming one plays it on a DVD player, they'll hear a difference as dramatic as that between black and white to color, or mono to stereo. With all that, the music Becker presents better be worth the effort, and it is for the most part: moody, inventive, mostly electric guitar-driven numbers that show an affinity for seduction and, most of the time, catchy melodies. "Around the Universe" offers a hypnotic swirl of electric and acoustic guitars and a voice-haunted percussion track (created with djembe and Turkish tambourine) that creates a Brazilian flavor. "Come in and Find (A Better Understanding)" lives up to its title with its warm, folksy melody and smooth-pocket groove, while the title cut is a crisp electric meditation with a subtle blues-synth harmony underneath lines that Larry Carlton could appreciate. Becker has a good time mood-swinging, with subtle lullabies like "I Wish I Knew" followed by good-time mid-tempo rockers like "Freebahn." The most compelling songs are saved for last; "Blues for Albie" rolls along with a gentle but joyous Wes Montgomery-flavored trio cool while "Tchickis" blends an Eastern-tinged exotica (including tabla-driven percussion) with a loping acoustic melody. The music is not as innovative as the technology it's presented in, but its subtleties are more enjoyable for sure in the DVD format.

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