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Spitzen: Fingerprints

Having long created music for his own enjoyment and the intention of eventually teaming up with likeminded individuals that never materialised, multi-instrumentalist Hans Spitzen decided to put six of the songs he's recorded between 1989 and 2011 out under his own steam. From the off it's easy to hear the neo-prog of "Neptune's Exile" and "No Strings Attached" were intended for a full blown band, Spitzen providing scintillating guitar solos and captivating keyboards to two remarkably cohesive tracks. However this isn't all instrumental fare, the man of many talents proving that vocals maybe isn't quite one of them. It's not that Spitzen is an awful singer; he hits all the right notes and in all the right places, however dull and lifeless would possibly be the best description for what graces the otherwise uplifting "Neptune's...". However, through the darting instrumental forays of "...Strings...", where the keys move more into the front seat, the disappointing thing is that Spitzen proves he can create engaging soundscapes without the need for lyrics.

I can't say for certain, but the album feels as though it has been constructed chronologically, the first couple of tracks steeped in an 80s attack and atmosphere, while oddly the acoustic strum and flute of the 70s inspired "What I Would Give" feels much more recent in terms of production. "Symphonic Sketches" is the album's other instrumental, a more grandiose theme hinting at classical inspiration while being thoroughly marinaded in the prog traditions of Camel. Leaving the closing and reasonably lengthy pair of "The Time Of My Life" and "Touching The Darkness", to balance between song based observations and progressive workouts. Spitzen's instrumental ability displayed to the extent that it's hard to know whether guitar or keyboard is his preferred weapons of choice (the picture of him in the booklet sees him wielding a bass!). Vocally things are a little less stretched and feel more mature as a result, even if this aspect always remains the chink in the Spitzen armour.

It's a shame that Hans Spitzen couldn't surround himself with musicians – and especially a vocalist – of equal talent for Fingerprints. If he had, there's little doubt that what is an enjoyable album with some notable highlights could well have been something special… Interestingly, since the release of this CD, Spitzen has gone on to team up with the band Flamborough as their new guitarist. The fruits of that union could be very tasty indeed!

Track Listing
1. Neptune's Exile
2. No Strings Attached
3. What I Would Give
4. Symphonic Sketches
5. The Time Of My Life
6. Touching The Darkness

Added: May 8th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Hans Spitzen on facebook
Hits: 1420
Language: english

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