"Consistent Variation" (Young Brave Music; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Consistent Variation" is best described on the liner notes by Rob Eberhard Young himself: "While playing a sold-out rock show at a big club in Boston in 1993," Young writes, "it suddenly hit me how completely unfulfilled I felt as a musician. The electric guitar had captivated me for nearly 15 years, but that was about to change. The next day, I came across a street musician named Ned Landin who played acoustic guitar in an incredibly powerful way that completely leveled me. That was it. I went home, put the Strat in the closet, grabbed my old acoustic and fell in love. 'Consistent Variation' was formed over the next two weeks, lying on the floor of my apartment with the lights off, tuning the guitar weird, and just exploring. It was the most amazing feeling of freedom."

Anyone who's ever hung out with guitarists has heard the type of music that's performed on "Consistent Variation." It's the kind of stuff guitarists do when they think no one else is listening. It's free form, non-regimented, stream of consciousness music - sound that comes from the soul.

What's surprising is how listenable Young's musical musings are to the listener. Young, obviously an incredibly talented musician, not only exposes his soul on "Consistent Variation" but communicates his emotions as well. If there is anything like a musical conversation, then "Consistent Variation" is it.

The CD's beauty is also its curse. "Consistent Variation" is virtually nothing but acoustic guitar (H.G. Gibbons does supply some piano). There are no vocals, no drums, no bass. And, although its nine tracks are all complete musical compositions, many of them are just over two minutes long and the entire CD barely stretches over 25 minutes. Finally, Rough Edge readers might prefer something with a little more bite than "Consistent Variation" offers.

Still, those are all minor complaints. With its impressive musicianship and soulful openness, "Consistent Variation" is a very entertaining and surprisingly enlightening CD.

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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 2004  by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 May 2016 12:32:26 -0400 .