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Acoustic Alchemy: The Beautiful Game



 
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Greg Carmichael has done more than merely survive the death of Acoustic Alchemy founding member and partner Nick Webb; the guitarist has turned the loss into an opportunity to create a whole new ensemble vibe by collaborating with formerly supporting members of the duo. The biggest differences on this label debut (after nearly a decade with GRP) is that Carmichael is more open-minded toward spontaneous interaction with other instruments, and doesn't mind laying back a bit on the strings. On "The Angel of the South," his and Miles Gilderdales' dark guitar lines snap along over Frank Felix's rolling samba bass groove and hypnotic percussion fills; Guy Barker's Latin trumpet flavors come in later in the tune than they need to. Despite its Spanishy title, "The Panama Cat"is a simmering retro-soul/blues, with a reflective acoustic easing over a constant, jumpy wah-wah click line throughout. The reggae beat of the title track will remind AA fans of the classic "Jamaican Heartbeat," but its moody ambience and occasional hypnotic Terry Disley piano swirls make it sound like a 3rd Force tune. "Hats of Magic" creeps along coolly with sound effects, a trip-hop groove and the dreamy interaction of guitar and Snake Davis' sax. For those averse to the exciting changes, "Big Sky Country" is typical, loping AA trademark stuff all the way. Another unique idea is having Steven Jones produce second versions of both that tune and "Trail Blazer" with an all-Nashville cast complete with appropriate steel guitar twangs, harmonica dobro, and violin. Webb would be proud of his compadre's tribute to moving on. All Music Review by Jonathan Widran
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The following has been excerpted from the Acoustic Alchemy homepage @ http://acoustic-alchemy.net/

"For 25 years, Acoustic Alchemy has pushed the limits of the acoustic guitar’s potential by embracing a spectrum of musical styles ranging from straight-ahead jazz to folk to rock to world music and beyond. In the two and a half decades since their earliest recordings – despite a tragic setback in the late 1990s and the inherent challenges of the 21st century music industry – the group has assembled and sustained a vast and loyal following that stretches well beyond their U.K. origins.
Through it all, the overriding mission of Acoustic Alchemy has been to reach the broadest possible audience by pushing the potential of instrumental music to embrace a broad spectrum of styles without being limited to any specific genre. “For a lot of people, instrumental music is just a sound that plays in the background,” says Greg Carmichael. “But we put a lot into it – not just with this record but with every record we’ve ever made. I’d like to think that after all these years, we’ve learned how to take people on a journey. A lot of our fans have said that we do that for them. As long as they keep coming back, and as long as they want to stay on that journey, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”
Acoustic Alchemy The Beautiful Game

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