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Guthrie Govan - Erotic Cakes CD (album) cover


Guthrie Govan

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars When jazz rock and heavy metal get together

When I first saw this album, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I have never eve seen the name Guthrie Govan in my life and the album's name, Erotic Cakes, only signed to the worst expectations and even more confusing was seeing Erotic Cakes' cover on the jazz tray of the store. To my surprise, whne I first checked it, the album was not only good, but was spectacular!

Govan's music is something of an oddball. It sure is jazz rock, but not the normal kind that you would expect. Starting from the jazz part of the music, it is so fresh, vivid and emotional that you can easily relate to it. It feels like flowting in a calm, placid spot or place, wile witnessing how everything around that place is moving and changing. The rock (or metal) part of the music give it a completely different level. It gives the music more power and colour than your average jazz rock band.

Just to give an idea of how this album sound, imagine a mix of Derek Sherinian's Planet X and Inertia albums and his Planet X band, plus Fromuz's Overlook, Exivious' debut and Cynic's Traced in Air.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Maybe I have this album in such a high regard because I was caught completely off guard when I had my first listen of it, but this Guthrie Govan's solo effort is worth the masterpiece rating by its own merits. When you have the opportunity, get this album and you won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#302626)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Never judge an album by its cover...

This is the first (and so far only) solo release from highly respected but little known jazz fusion guitarist, Guthrie Govan.

The Good: Whilst I enjoy solo albums from many guitarists including the likes of John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Paul Gilbert etc. they do tend to either devolve into self indulgent exhibitions of virtuosity or compilations of various diluted styles. In both cases the rest of the instruments tend to play a more supporting role, such is the nature of the release.

Erotic Cakes is none of the above. Sure, there is no doubting Govan's technical ability, but the playing on display here is incredibly interesting, and the shredding tasteful. All of the songs have their own unique character with jazz rock undertones running throughout, and also features guest spots from Richie Kotzen and Bumblefoot. Whilst it is labelled a solo album, the bass and drums are also superb and the whole thing feels like the complete package. In fact, when performing these tracks they are billed as Erotic Cakes the band, rather than just Guthrie Govan.

The Bad: Joint award for the worst album art and worst album title of all time.

The Verdict: Looking forward to a second release!

Report this review (#453524)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all, you should know that Guthrie Govan is one of the world's best guitarists. If you can't enjoy fast and technical guitar playing; this may not be for you. Although, this CD also features some very sexy and smooth melodies. Seth Govan (Guthrie's brother) played bass for this record. He keeps up and holds the pocket well. Pete Riley does a wonderful job keeping the excitement high with his impressive drumming.

Waves - This song features a very smooth legato slide technique sounding similar to liquid, which is reasonably why it's called waves. The bass playing is very tight and fits the song perfectly. This song is prominently in 4/4.

Erotic Cakes - It sounds like this song is changing though crazy time signatures, but it is actually in 4/4 with a 5/4 groove section. It's very chromatic sounding, but unique and bold. Once the 5/4 bass groove sets in, you can't help but to dig in. There is a very entertaining solo sections with cool drum, bass, and guitar doodling.

Wonderful Slippery Thing - This is probably the jazziest song of Erotic Cakes. It has a great chord progression and melody. Totally a masterpiece. In my opinion; this could be considered a new Jazz Standard. The passing tones and clean guitar sounds are very good.

Ner Ner - This is a fun little song that features some slap bass. The whammy pedal might annoy some people, but I think it's fun.

Fives - The boys set one of the best 5/4 grooves I've ever heard in this tune. The tapping and guitar lead section is insane. You will not believe what you hear. This also features a very intimate and beautiful bass solo with tone to die for.

Uncle Skunk - This song actually features moving harmonies, which many guitarists don't utilize. Most guitar players would have a guitar, let's say, a 5th apart from the main melody. Guthrie changes the distances and creates a very interesting composition.

Sevens - This tune features 7 finger tapping, it's the 7th track and Guthrie decided to use many 7 chords.. Maybe that's why it's called Sevens? Either way; the tapping is insanely clean. The drumming is top notch. It's hard to believe that one guy is doing all of it! Pete really has a mastery of ghost notes while playing in odd meters. It really brings the groove out.

Eric - Things tone down a bit and Eric is a great slow tune to listen to. It features some pretty slide guitar.

Slidey Boy - This song has a tight bass section along with a great clean guitar melody. A true fusion tune.

Rhode Island Rhred - Whether you like Country music or not, this song is fun! It features Bumblefoot if I'm not mistaken. Some of the hybrid picking and authentic country styles are enjoyable.

Hangover - This song is very different, but it makes sense to me. The polyrhythms Pete performs near the end of the tune are very cool.

This album is a MUST buy for anyone who enjoys jazz, fusion, or mind blowing musicianship. Guthrie is without a doubt a prodigy of guitar. He does everything for a reason and he's a true master of improvisation. Many of the solos on the record are improvised!

Report this review (#460910)
Posted Monday, June 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'Erotic Cakes' - Guthrie Govan (9/10)

Even half a decade after this has been released, there has still been some buzz over this virtuoso guitarist's work amongst friends and acquaintances. Being a guitarist myself, I can always appreciate the talent and skill- not to mention the time and effort- that it takes to become a truly great guitarist, but with all too many instrumental rock guitarists, I find myself frankly bored by much of their one-sided, overindulgent music. Enter Guthrie Govan, an English fusion guitarist who- much like Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders- seems to be revitalizing the scene of instrumental rock guitar. A rare masterpiece of this sort of music, Guthrie Govan's incredible skill at playing and tasteful tact of songwriting makes his debut, 'Erotic Cakes' essential listening for its style.

As the label of 'instrumental rock guitar' would imply, the center of this music is Govan's axe work, which shows him dabbling in a number of styles, including hard rock, blues, but most notably; hard-edged jazz. Throughout all of these, Guthrie Govan manages to harness his tone and give a clear, fitting sound to all of these different avenues, all the while drawing in seductive melodies and themes into his lead playing. Guthrie could be the phenomenal guitarist that he is, and still end up making a boring album if it weren't for his clever use of melodies and atmosphere in the songwriting. While there are plenty of less structured 'solo' sections where he effortlessly impresses with his beautifully flowing improvisations, each song gives the definite feeling that it is going somewhere, and that the listener isn't merely sitting by idly while Guthrie gives his virtuoso musician's equivalent of a child calling out and saying "hey, look what I can do!" 'Erotic Cakes' shows a satisfying balance of necessary showboating and quality composition. On a less positive note, these songs don't necessarily compliment each other on an albumwide scale, but each song is consistent, despite the fact that he is drawing from a number of different styles.

Making 'Erotic Cakes' an even better listen is that this is not merely a 'guitar' album; believe it or not, there are actually other musicians at work here as well, and talented ones at that. Bassist Seth Govan (Guthrie's brother, I will assume) makes some great slap bass fills here that fill out the sound beautifully, ensuring that there is always something else out there for a listener to focus on, if they want a change from the guitars. The drummer here is best suited for jazz, but manages to fluctuate based on whatever style Guthrie is leading the band into. A really excellent performance here from each member of the band.

I would really love to see Guthrie Govan churn out a second album, because without a doubt, 'Erotic Cakes' is one of the best- if not the best- instrumental rock guitar album I have ever heard. I went into it not knowing what to expect, and came out of it dazzled. A masterpiece album from a style I do not normally enjoy much. 'Erotic Cakes' has me turned on.

Report this review (#505818)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Guthrie Govan's exceptional jazz fusion solo album hits a higher batting average than many fusion guitar heroes' outputs. The secret seems to be that Govan has maintained the highest standard of quality control when it comes to what compilations deserve to win a place on here, with some of these compositions dating back a decade. With a solid band behind him, good compositions, and a keen sense of where the line lies between quality, impressive technical fusion and empty guitar noodling, and a thoroughly modern sound which shows no inclination to wallow in nostalgia, Govan has crafted a truly impressive fusion album here - a triumph of quality over quantity.
Report this review (#1120701)
Posted Saturday, January 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars I admit to that I hate dong this here, because I'd rather invite attention to works deserving exposure, as opposed to be negative towards perhaps well-meaning attempt that don't really come off.

My attention to this album was raised by the overall high rating by contributors. It ended up being a cold shower to me, a disappointing experience. One of those albums that give Fusion a bad name.

At first listen I ended up skip, skip, skip whilst the Buddhist (probably Sanskrit) term "Nirliptaroopa" came to mind. It translates as "form without structure".

So, I put more time aside and "endured" the works in full - for a change. The end result was irritation with only tiny snippets of admiration at times. There is no doubt that Govan knows his fretboard. That he fails to make the most of his training is rather disappointing.

This is not a band effort, but Govan playing, supported by a totally forgettable rhythm section. There is only sound without rhythm, or melody, or substance and that seems to be the only comparison with Stevie Vai, who is a Paganini of guitar, but much less talented when it comes to composing memorable tunes.

Considering that I claim a bit of understanding to Jazz-Rock/Fusion spanning a few decades, this album comes across as one of the weakest in recent times. Irritating. 2.5 at the most.


Report this review (#1124556)
Posted Friday, January 31, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Guthrie Govan is one of a rare kind of guitarist (and musician) who manages to effortlessly fuse technicality, musicality and creativity. In Guthrie's case, all of these come in abundance and are the reasons why he's made such a big name for himself as a guitarist. Guthrie's extremely inventive fusions of diverse techniques is impressive, but most importantly of all, the songs are fun to listen to, which is something that cannot be said of many other 'guitar albums'. The technicality never overwhelms you. This is not a very traditional jazz or even fusion album. the genre and mood seem to change with every song and Guthrie's unique style is conveyed in every song. Although this does result in a lack of flow between the songs, the album manages to stay cohesive as a whole. Not to be overlooked are the two other musicians on the album, Seth Govan (who I assume is Guthrie's brother) and Pete Riley, who sound very much like accomplished musicians in their own right and are given some room to breathe and even some solo time. Riley's drumming is always appropriate and interesting and Seth Govan's bass keeps an engaging groove with the occasional pleasant solo. Overall, this album is one of the most fun and interesting albums that I have heard especially from a 'solo' musician.
Report this review (#1137199)
Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

Never judge an album by its cover! (And its title!)

The first time I heard of Guthrie Govan was when I heard he was the guitarist of masterpiece The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories, from the genius Steven Wilson, who had assembled an impeccable line-up for this album. Although like what Govan was doing here (I really love your emotional ground Drive Home), he did not stand out , not be bad, but precisely because it was a collective effort in which all shone. Later I came to find out that he and Marco Minneman had this project called The Aristocrats (still want to hear them) and a friend of mine, Herick, was already a fan of his for a long time. About a month ago, my friend showed me this one heck of a show of Govan in Japan, and I immediately noticed two things: 1) That beard and crazy hair!; 2) It actually looked interesting . However, about two weeks after that I got a big surprise: Erotic Cakes, an album that I had ever seen around here in PA, was his solo album . The same facebook page that made me know that posted a video of the original version of " Ner Ner ", and I went to hear her.

Man, my head exploded! I was not prepared for the level of this guy, the real talent he has and which he had no idea. Soon I tried to find this album in its entirety to listen to it, both because I wanted to see what Govan had to offer me and because I'm passionate about everything that is related to jazz and jazz-fusion, even if they are not genres that I explore so often. At the moment I'm listening this review it again, steadying my belief that this is a masterpiece.

But after all, what's Erotic Cakes? A jazz album Drinking in rock? Or a rock album Drinking in jazz? My father gave me the answer: both. Do not be fooled by the cover and the horrible title. This is one of the best musical experiences I have had in recent times, thanks to the skills and Seth Guthrie Govan (bassist) and Pete Riley (drummer). Though Guthrie is the star of the show, it is wise not to attract his entire attention to themselves by delegating space for the two companions - a notable example is the title track, where each of the three has room for short solos. Just see the fretless to Uncle Seth Skunk or his work in the final track, Hangover. And Riley has a dynamic style and quite complex, easily switching between rock and jazz. He has an indescribable footprint, which sounds somehow accessible and challenging at the same time.

But like I said, Guthrie Govan is the star of the show. How could I live my life without knowing the sound of this guy? It is almost impossible to describe what he's doing here, just to be able to walk around and switch between so many styles and timbres, printing multiple forms of musicianship that do justice to the fact that this album be here on the site. From his semi-acoustic work Wonderful Slippery Thing (which I already knew the show in Japan) for his aggressive, powerful work Ner Ner (I have a tendency to have the first track I listen to an album before you listen it altogether as one of my favorites, and here was no different), the slide guitar and Eric psicodelias to arrive at fun country/bluegrass Rhode Island Shred. This guy has become my new guitar hero, no doubt.

5 stars, of course!

Report this review (#1157026)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars According to the bio here Guthrie won a guitar competition put on by Guitarist magazine back in 1993 which opened some doors for him as he would go on to teach guitar in schools as well as doing session work and becoming part of several bands. I became aware of this British guitarist through Steven Wilson as he played on his "The Raven That Refused To Sing(And Other Stories)". The guy can play, no doubts about that. This is an all instrumental album with the focus on the guitar and there's a strong Jazz flavour. We get a trio of guitar, bass and drums.

"Waves" opens with the faint sounds of waves and guitar before it kicks in much louder with drums, guitar and bass. Guthrie starts to light it up around a minute in then it settles back to the previous soundscape as this contrast continues. I really like how this sounds before 3 1/2 minutes. "Erotic Cakes" is heavier followed by some complex guitar soloing. Check it out 2 minutes in. "Wonderful Slippery Thing" is a jazzy, lighter number that's quite catchy. Some nice bass here as well. "Ner Ner" opens with strummed guitar but then he starts to solo as the bass and drums help out. He's ripping it up before 2 1/2 minutes. There's a good acoustic section around 3 minutes then it turns heavy. Some stop and start action before a relaxed sound takes over. Back to the main theme before 5 1/2 minutes. I like the drumming 6 minutes in then a guitar solo follows. "Fives" can be heard on the site here. I like the guitar expressions here and I like the drum work. It then kicks into gear and Guthrie is lighting it up after 2 minutes.

"Uncle Skunk" is an upbeat and pleasant ride. Nice bass especially 2 minutes in where he becomes the focus. A feel good tune. "Sevens" features a heavier sounding guitar which I like. It changes though with some intricate soloing then back to the heaviness as contrasts continue. The mellow parts are uplifting. "Eric" starts out reminding me of PT strangely enough. It changes though as this relaxing guitar joins in and I like the bass around 1 1/2 minutes. Some shrill guitar bits come and go. "Slidey Boy" has a rockish start but before 2 minutes it becomes much more relaxed including some welcomed atmosphere. Back to that heavier sound after 3 minutes. "Rhode Island Shred" sounds like a Blue Grass tune or maybe a DIXIE DREGS track. Very fast paced. "Hangover" is possibly my favourite track on here. I like the way the guitar soars and also the outburts of speed from Guthrie. I also like the way it winds down to end it.

This just hasn't grabbed me much at all. Sure there are many enjoyable moments but overall it's just not bringing much satisfaction. Maybe if it was more of a band thing instead of a guitar album, who knows? Good album though.

Report this review (#1541334)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2016 | Review Permalink

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