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Guitar Garden: Secret Space

Strap on a pair of headphones, get comfortable, and be prepared to be taken on a sumptuous and adventurous ride with the latest from Guitar Garden. Secret Space, the follow up to 2005's China Rose, is a treasure chest of dreamy guitar tones and textures, bubbling synths, and soaring melodies. Much of the album pays tribute to some of Pete Prown's (lead guitarist) heroes. Highlights are "Evolution X", with its stunning Carlos Santana-meets-Al DiMeola styled rhythms and solos, the David Gilmour influenced "War Echo", and the proggy blues of the title track, a tribute to Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings. Other fun tunes include the Mellotron drenched "Passchendaele (Song of the Mellotronia)", the hard rock & fusion sounds of "The News at 11", and the ripping improvisations that permeate "Suddenly".

Secret Space is an all-round refreshing take on the instrumental guitar oriented release. Prown though takes a different approach by resisting the temptation to non-stop shred, and instead serves up many soothing melodies by creating lush guitar tones mixed with a myriad of keyboard sounds. It's a great homage to some of the great progressive and fusion bands of the last few decades.

Track Listing
1. Passchendaele (Song of the Mellotronia)
2. Evolution X
3. War Echo
4. Proggy Mountain Breakdown
5. Secret Space (Blues for R.S.)
6. The News at 11
7. Waltz of the Dead
8. Mandolin Blue
9. Brahms
10. Suddenly (a 4-part improvisation)
11. The Groove Eternal

Added: September 6th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2296
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Guitar Garden: Secret Space
Posted by Mike Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-09-06 06:13:39
My Score:

Pete Prown, who essentially is the Pennsylvania-based instrumental project Guitar Garden, spent a lot of time between 2005's New Age-y world-music-flavored debut, China Rose, and Secret Space listening to Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, The Flower Kings, The Tangent, Return to Forever, Pat Metheny and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The result is an album steeped in the sonic traditions of those bands. David Gilmour's guitar style pops up consistently in these 11 songs, which reveal a deep appreciation for some of progressive music's finer traits all with guitars and guitar synths, no keys. And it takes a guy without keys a certain size of stones to title the opening track on this album "Passchendaele (Song of Mellotronia)." Elsewhere, "Secret Space (Blues For R.S.)" pays homage to lead Flower King Roine Stolt by integrating classic blues into a modern-day prog piece, "Evolution X" acknowledges the likes of Carlos Santana and Al DiMeola (whose longtime studio engineer Rich Tozzoli mastered Secret Space) and "Mandolin Blue" unites an upbeat mandolin with an echo-laden guitar and lush acoustic melodies for a progressive-Americana vibe. Guitar Garden which also features two guest guitarists and a drummer/percussionist plays with soul and passion, and even when Prown slows things down for several mellow pieces in the album's middle, he never loses his enthusiasm and reverence for the music. In the press material that accompanied our copy of Secret Space, Prown admits he set out "to make a record that I would want to listen to in my free time one that rocks, but at the same time has strong melodies and dramatic arrangements." It may not rock as much as some SoT readers prefer, but it is definitely among the more enjoyable all-instrumental records to grace my player in a long time. I'll even listen to it in my free time.

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