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Dean Watson - Unsettled CD (album) cover


Dean Watson


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.82 | 52 ratings

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3 stars Dean Watson is one of many of today's one-man projects. And despite the potential of the music, the album suffers from that typical one-man illness, being excellent at the leading instruments but disappointing in the other departments. As a result, the music lacks the spontaneous interplay and creative exchange of ideas that are expected from jazz-rock.

Let's start with the biggest turn-off, being mr. Roland on the drum-kit and, if I'm not mistaken, on some of the bass as well. Really, these programmed drums don't do the music justice, no matter how well the patterns are designed; it makes everything too rigid, missing punch, dynamics and variety. The virtuoso organs and guitars crave for the interaction with equally accomplished drums and bass, but as it stands, you only get half of the deal here.

When the metal riffs take the lead, the stark drum programming works better. Logical, most Metal these days sounds as if it has drum computers instead of real drums, so our ears are used to it. Another reason is that the thick metal guitars mask the tiny synthetic sound of the drums. The dull snare especially knocks the breath out of this music. When the songs are less metal and more spacious (as on DIP), they lack life and a beating heart.

Luckily, in terms of composition the quality is good and at times even excellent. Out of the Mist and 11th Heaven Blues especially are not to be missed. The industrial feel of the latter being an example where the drum computer works quite well. In other words, this album has potential for excellence but it lacks too much of what makes jazz-rock so great and fulfilling.

Being quite the fan of fusion I do miss atmosphere, soul, warmth, adventure and dynamics in this album. The compositions are good though and deserve a real band with live drums.

In a sub dominated by the likes of Davis, Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Soft Machine, this is a 2.5 star album for me. Promising but not accomplished yet. Given the quality guitar work and occasional metal angle, this album might still be attractive to metal and heavy rock fans with some interest in jazz-rock.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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