Prog rock is a genre that lends to much diversion of sound and in Crucial, the third album from Swiss guitarist/composer Roland Buhlmann, an amazingly intriguing construction of sound pieces, some reminiscent of 1970’s fusion band Sky, also the intriguing Kintaro, who is noted for his electronic-instrumentalisation, has been created.
With Crucial Buhlmann displays some serious skill with electronic guitar, an immense knowledge of sound combination with an overwhelming desire to put together such diverse ‘instruments’ as oil tanks, wine glasses, branches, knives, electric and bass guitars and so very much more, to create a work that is a wonderful blend of guitar with a percussive base.
From the first track of the eight, Kaiilen, the work is intriguing, and dependant on what is the mood at the of listening it can either be soothing or fractious; Higgayon is such a piece that it has both aspects, from a soft, almost synthetic flavour to some seriously strong guitar riffs, changing the tempo when least expected.
Crucial as the title track, is introduced with a bassline that is strong, forceful and then a tapping, translate to wine glass, effect is added, building a real intrigue to the sound. A raft of other percussion sound is included which makes fascinating listening trying to discover what has been used to create the sound. Some serious guitar work is on display with this composition.
After the deeper, strong tracks previously the delightfully light Miserere is a piece that is most enjoyable for its slightly more delicate nature. Still percussive, but with an almost purist jazz element to some of the guitar pieces, it makes once again, a gloriously interesting piece of improv.
At eleven minutes long the final track Subconsciously is one that slowly drifts across the many aspects of the mind, offering, challenging, sharing and once again intriguing, with what appears to be a carefully selected ‘random’ combination of sounds.
As a completely prog-rock album this is one for the purist, but also makes good listening when the mood is totally right, for others who enjoy a little prog-rock or improv, for the sheer mastery of the instruments and sounds created.