"Devices in Popmusic" (Rockwerk Music; 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I love instrumental albums and I am always more than happy to review them for Rough Edge. The latest hot-shot guitarist to make it to the pages of Rough Edge is Artesguitars. Artesguitars covers a broad range of musical styles and sounds - as such it is best to provide as many descriptions of the tracks herein as possible.

"Sometimes" features Joe Satriani-like guitar work while "Next" is a clone of Joe Satriani - almost to the point that I was a bit put off because it sounded so unoriginal (this impression was somewhat tempered by each successive listen). "Diaspora" has a grand and epic German sound that sounds like the bastard child of Scorpions and Vinnie Moore. "Four Lue Lydians" evokes the sound made famous by Nuno Bettencourt (oh where, oh where have thou gone?). Heavy rock workouts like "Throwing Hippos" display Artesguitars' penchant for energetic music without being overly bombastic - restraint is a good thing and Artesguitars knows when to go for it and when to hold back. Even Southern-blues rock gets the full Artesguitars treatment on rumblers like "All My Way Home" - not bad for a German six-string slinger. Artesguitars knows his way around an acoustic guitar, too, as the subtle yet moving "Wamba Yooba" and organic "Beyond Cool" display vibrant, natural sounds over a steady rhythms; very interesting material.

"Devices In Pop Music" also has a classical piece originally composed by the great Nicolo Paganini Artesguitars does a great job brining this piece of music to life. Paganini was a famous classical violinist and composer who is known among guitar freaks as one of the primary influences on Yngwie J. Malmsteen.

What makes me enjoy "Devices In Popmusic" so much is its high-quality compositions, the solid mix of style and substance, a true sense of letting the 'music do the talking,' and sheer diversity in presentation. At all times in the fifteen tracks on "Devices In Popmusic" the listener is buoyed by the sheer joy in Artesguitars' spirited performance. Not only will fans of instrumental music enjoy Artesguitars' "Devices In Popmusic," fans of any kind of music would find it just as hard as I did to turn it off.

"Devices In Pop Music" has a great presentation in the digipak that I received.

Artesguitars is joined by Fred Frizz on bass and Abe Laboriel, Jr. on drums. Eric Boseman played drums on "Beyond Cool."

"Devices In Pop Music" was produced by Artesguitars.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.