|Fiorletta, Simone: Parallel Worlds
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-02-02 01:11:15
Don't be put off when you hear that Simone Fiorletta is a guitar virtuoso. Yes, his sound is rooted in the Satriani / Vai school of wizardry, but he's less technical and more lyrical than his mentors. Like his first CD Fiorletta's Parallel Worlds is all instrumental, and and revolves around his guitar work.
At age 17 Fiorletta was instrumental in forming progressive metal outfit Moonlight Comedy, and now, 6 years later, his sophomore soloo release sounds nothing like prog-metal - and not much like Moonlight Comedy either. Despite his youth Fiorletta demonstrates remarkable maturity and flexibility. His guitar style is very expressive and carries every element of every song - and therein lies an area he may want to address in future records: Although there are hard rock songs here, ballads, blues, and even a bit of fusion (but no progressive metal), and despite the fact that he seems to wring a dozen different voices out of his instrument, it gets a bit 'samey' after a while. A more imaginative rhythm section, different instruments, and perhaps even a few vocal moments would introduce a welcome relief.
Having said that - at just 45 minutes, and with at least 3 songs that are real breakaways from the rest, this is a record you can play again and again. Focus intently on the fine technique if you're a guitarist - but this is music that you could also push into the background. Try doing that with any Satriani record since Flying In A Blue Dream.
Some sections - like "Again With You", the first part of "Blues Eyes" and the middle section of "Alone In The Rain" - have an annoying, cheap sounding percussion that sounds like it was produced from a poorly programmed entry-level drum machine. You know, the kind of rhythm that dominates elevator music. Andrea Scala is credited with playing drums, so it's a mystery how these sounds found their way onto the record. Despite that distraction, "Blue Eyes" is a ballad with wonderfully soulful, bluesey guitar work - very fluid and very emotional. "A Strange Evolution" is a slow, appealing lead solo played over a simple but elegant acoustic guitar. Very pretty.
Track 10, "Lullaby For Laura", deserves special mention. It is extremely pleasant, and it is totally out of character for this CD. A simple acoustic guitar accompanies nicely reverbed falsetto male vocals. Vocals, but not singing - it's a pleasing ohh-ahh sound, and you get the impression that it would fit well into the score of a classic European movie.
So Parallel Worlds isn't without criticism, but it's a very pleasing listen - and isn't that why we by records?