Matt Stevens is a British guitarist who plays in the instrumental band Fierce and The Dead but has also released a few solo albums. His latest outing is titled Lucid, and it's his first release on the Esoteric/Cherry Red label. Helping out on Lucid are drummer Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Bass guitarists Lorenzo Feliciati (Naked Truth), Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld) and Kev Feazey, keyboard players Jem Godfrey (Frost) and
Emmett Elvin (Chrome Hoof / Guapo), violinist Chrissie Caulfield (Helicopter Quartet / Crippled Black Phoenix), vibe player Jon Hart and Nicholas Wyatt Duke (Trojan Horse) who contributes spoken word. The album took three years to complete, and you can really tell that Stevens put a lot of love into it.
A well rounded album, Lucid has a little bit of something for everyone. Fans of King Crimson's mid '70s as well as their more modern material will love the herky jerky, complex prog numbers like "The Ascent" and "Oxymoron", each one filled with acrobatic guitar work, intricate bass lines and busy drumming. There are also the more atmospheric mood setters such as "Coulrophobia", "Flow", and "The Other Side", as well as the upbeat jazz-fusion styled pieces like the title track and metallic "The Bridge". Through it all, Stevens shows his mastery of the electric as well as acoustic guitar, wowing the listener with dissonant, jagged solos that border on heavy metal, and calming with lush acoustic tones and passages. "A Boy", "Street and Circus", and "KEA" are simply lovely pieces.
There are plenty of instrumental guitar based albums released each year that are all flash and no substance, but Lucid certainly isn't one of them. Matt Stevens is a talent you should definitely check out if you haven't already.
04 The Other Side
05 The Ascent
09 Street and Circus
10 The Bridge
11 A Boy