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Ron Jarzombek - Solitarily Speaking of Theoretical Confinement CD (album) cover


Ron Jarzombek

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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5 stars I can't believe that this album hasn't had a review yet.

I rank this album among the top recordings I possess. Anyone who knows Jarzombek's history with Watchtower and Spastic Ink already knows about his astounding ability on guitar, but amongst these, 'Solitarily Speaking.' ranks as his finest recording.

The reason is that the detrimental points concerning the above mentioned bands have been completely abolished here. I'm talking irritating vocals and sometimes inconsistent moods amongst the compositions, often leaving a disjointed impression. This album is the culmination of everything that went before.

What Jarzombek presents us with here is a recording with the highest (and fastest) guitar playing virtuosity (and I don't use this term lightly), combined with confounding metrics, but at the same time full of warmth, power and humour, all at the same time. And if that wasn't enough, he presents all this in an entirely instrumental album.

At times while listening to this, you can't help laughing with exhilaration, or at least sit there with a wide admiring grin on your face. This guy comes across with complete warmth in his compositions, which are unbelievably complex at the same time.

His two fellow musicians on bass and drums are well up to the challenge (both well-known and accomplished musicians), and support in such a way as to both underline and complement the 'songs' while leaving their personal detailed marks.

And about the humour: Look at the titles and note that they have all been translated into their musical counterparts.

I don't think I've ever come across a recording that is so complex and instantly accessible at the same time. By the way, this album is one continuous recording split into 45!! sections

If you give this a chance I think it deserves a place in the top 100 of all time. If you have the opportunity, please listen to this, you won't regret it.

Report this review (#172015)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
3 stars Need an idea or two?...or seven or forty-two?

Sub-genre: Tech/Extreme Prog Metal (Tech? Yes. Extreme? You bet.)
For Fans of: Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Mattias Eklundh or any other solo guitarist with a quirky side
Vocal Style: None
Guitar Style: Metal solo tones
Keyboard Style: Programmed synths
Percussion Style: Programmed metal set
Bass Style: Picked electric
Other Instruments: an on None that I noticed

Summary:Ron Jarzombek takes the idea of creating and naming songs simply based on a single musical idea to a whole new level. This is actually nothing new for Mr. Jarzombek. His first Spastic Ink album, Ink Complete, was primarily compiled in this manner. Solitarily Speaking of Theoretical Confinement differs from Ink Complete by the fact that each song only lasts long enough to convey the idea. So concise in this process is R.J. on this particular project that the album is divided up into 45 tracks the longest being 2:45 in the shortest being 7 seconds. This album also differs from Ink Complete and that has a more refined recording quality.

In listening to this album, one easily becomes lost in the frantic pace and changes from song to song. The listener without formal music training, and even some with, would have a hard time understanding exactly what idea is behind the music. Fortunately, R.J. is not one to leave his listeners in the dark. As usual he provides in-depth liner notes with complete explanations behind the musical ideas for each track. While this may or may not be enough, one can't help but appreciate the effort.

The sound of the album is very consistent with R.J.'s previous works with Spastic Ink and Watchtower. His guitars are heavy with rhythm and chords with broad extensions and very few simple fifth power chords. He rarely if ever uses a pickup other than a humbucker near the bridge. The result is punchy lows with crisp highs and very little midrange warmth. His love affair with seconds, tri-tones and diminished chords is epic.

Final Score: This album is difficult to rate. While my rudimentary knowledge of musical forms and structures gives me great appreciation for the effort and time it takes to produce this sort of work, I admittedly still find myself becoming bored with the listening process and allow this album to fade into background noise. My wavering requires a 3 star rating. I recommend the album with the caveat that listening for enjoyment is mood dependent.

Report this review (#181556)
Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008 | Review Permalink

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