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Duros; Stephen: Aeaea

An instrumental concept album may immediately have you presuming prog, yet guitarist/composer Stephen Duros confounds expectations. Landing somewhere between flamenco guitar, world music, middle eastern flavoured movie soundtrack and well, prog, the enigmatically titled AEAEA refuses to be categorised, pigeon holed, or taken for granted. Instead we are presented with an album huge in scope and vision, yet intricate in construction and ambience. Duros is a huge talent, his nylon string acoustic work as warm as it is dextrous and as calming as it is fiery. However on its own, only half this story of musical journeys and odysseys (AEAEA is an island encountered in the poem The Odyssey) could be told, for it is the swathes of strings, clicks of hand claps, tap and thunder of hand percussion and infusion of all manner of less expected instruments (Oud, Palmas, Charango, Riq, Darbuka and congas) which truly bring this tale to life. The twelve "Chapters" vary hugely in length, from a few minutes to ten-plus, yet the flowing nature of the album makes the intended journey a continuous one where cool, calm seas can be imagined as readily as mountainous assents and swirling winds (or wherever your imagination whisks you) danger and seduction as likely to scare and enthral as the feeling of security and belonging are to calm and soothe. It's a clever balance and one which initially can have some moments on the album feeling remote and off hand, however when played against the more readily accessible side of what Duros has envisioned, the trade off between the two different aspects really begins to pay off.

AEAEA is an album for those times when your senses need to be challenged not by aggression and darkness, but by the scope and attention required to truly engage with this album. Donning headphones pays dividends, the claustrophobia sometimes encountered almost overwhelming, while often employed ambient sounds and linking passages suddenly come into their own. However whether you choose to totally immerse yourself in what this piece has to offer, or purely use it as a grand, atmospheric backdrop to your day, with AEAEA Stephen Duros has crafted an album you'll want to encounter again and again.

Track Listing
1. Chapter I
2. Chapter II
3. Chapter III
4. Chapter IV
5. Chapter V
6. Chapter VI
7. Chapter VII
8. Chapter VIII
9. Chapter IX
10. Chapter X
11. Chapter XI
12. Chapter XII

Added: August 23rd 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Stephen Duros online
Hits: 1393
Language: english

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