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Al DiMeola - Elysium CD (album) cover

ELYSIUM

Al DiMeola

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.12 | 15 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Al Di Meola's 2015 album is another gem from his current mature period, and close enough in spirit to his subsequent (and recommended) "Opus" that it might almost be considered a dry-run for the later session. The music is almost identical: subdued, mostly acoustic Math Jazz fusion, if such an ungainly hybrid even exists.

Each of the fourteen short tracks was impeccably arranged and played, but can sometimes be a little too detached in their dispassionate complexity. The guitarist was a month shy of his sixty-first birthday when the album was released, and his trademark white-lightning solos had become almost incidental to the more classical muse he was pursuing at the time.

The album is also arguably longer than it needed to be: a common complaint since the (premature) demise of vinyl. Too much of a good thing isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can certainly present a challenge with music of such clinical virtuosity. The unfortunate cover photo - another in a series of dour, narcissistic Di Meola self-portraits - is, for better or worse, an accurate illustration of the music on offer: handsome yes, but lacking the natural warmth and vitality of his earliest recordings.

In all, an admirable effort, with moments of genuine instrumental beauty ("Ardour"; "Babylon"). But the album probably won't excite much enthusiasm, as you might have noticed from this lukewarm yet wholehearted endorsement.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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