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Dave Kulju - Abstract Expression 9.6/10

By Mark Elliot

Dave Kulju - Abstract ExpressionsTrack 1 "Internal Combustion" starts with an instant high. Some great guitar playing interspersed with an interesting string section, moves along taking you in but not challenging you too much. A good start.
Track 2 "Don't Mind Me" is a more in-depth affair with a blistering solo and some wonderful guitar textures. Right from the outset Dave shows his skills as both a guitarist and a producer and it's apparent he really knows how to put his point across.
Track 3 "Hieland Road" starts with a lovely bit of Mellotron and then goes into a fantastic staccato riff which glides into a wonderfully sublime bass solo. Great playing throughout ensures that for a non-vocal album Abstract Expression manages to hold your attention.
Track 4 " Pleiades" is a beautiful piece with a classic Prog piano sequence which really takes you away. This is then followed by some great soloing and wonderful riffs. Again this piece is very instant.
Track 5 "Depth of Autumn" starts with a lovely acoustic folk section which is over too quickly for me. A clever chord sequence follows in 3/4 timing which then becomes 3/? timing. Very clever indeed. This is the best place for this track as by now the listener is ready for the more in-depth numbers and this one really captures your imagination.
Track 6 "Picnic at the Slag Heap" is a stange one with a sleasy 7/8 riff and some really abstract guitar and theramin sounds coming at you from all directions. I didn't realize coal mining was this scary.
Track 7 "The Main Attraction" is a much more standard affair but great nevertheless. I think there was a speech by Winston Churchill mixed in at the end which rivals Thomas Dolby's Dr Magnus Pike on "She Blinded Me With Science" anyday.
Track 8 "Somnium" is a 15-minute piece which really sums this album up. Melodic riffs with clever time changes and wonderful production, make a fantastic CD which you can get into on the first listening, but I'm sure has a lot more mileage in it the more you play it. Dave's solos are really interesting and textural and not just speed for the sake of it. They also aren't slapped all over the CD but placed carefully within the context of the piece and this is both rare and skillful.
Track 9 "The Water Discipline" ventures into "New Age" with it's keyboard intro and trance beat but when the guitar starts it crosses over into a great mix of the two types. This is a great track to go out on at the end of what was a fantastic album, which would appeal to Prog fans and Guitar Rock fans alike. It's rare to be both clever and musical at the same time, but Abstract Expression manages this brilliantly.

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