Mare Nostrum contains one continuous live performance by Spanish guitarist Albert Giménez. He uses a drum machine and multi-track loops to create thick textures with a groove. Both process and results are reminiscent of Richard Pinhas's work with Heldon and Schizotrope. Since the invention of the E-Bow and digital real-time looping devices, this type of performance has spread among guitarists. Giménez does a good job at it, but sticks to the manual of tricks. His music remains firmly anchored in tonality and follows a soft curve that leads from new-agey soundscapes to more beat-driven sections and back. The drum machine is used crudely: when the musician fires up the dance beat, it bursts loudly, menacing the integrity of the piece. Mare Nostrum follows the middle of the road between the eery constructions of Robert Fripp, the claustrophobic assaults of late-'90s Pinhas, and the ethereal cycles of Rafael Toral. What this last sentence means is that Giménez's music is not new and lacks the character of its predecessors. Fans of trippy guitars with a completist complexion may be interested. Others should check out the aforementioned artists before going any further.
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