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Electric Outlet: On!

Wow these cats are indeed "on". Lion music makes a serious foray into the prog funk fusion world with this scintillatingly produced and performed album. The music will remind listeners at different times of the funkier more playful side of Return To Forever, bands like Gamalon and Tribal Tech as well as more recent offerings like Niacin and CAB.

Electric Outlet is a collection of veteran German studio musicians who have mastered their craft providing backing tracks and live work to many artists over a variety of musical styles. The band includes Marcus Deml, guitars (Kingdom Come, Saga, Bobby Kimball), Tom Aeschbacher, keyboards, Ralf Gustke, drums (Chaka Khan, Xavier Naidoo) and Frank Itt, bass (Pili Pili, Errorhead and Bobby Kimball).

Has there ever been a better first track on any album of this genre than "Comprendes"? Can't think of one. The rhythm section is locked tighter than a WWF half nelson with a compelling groove and impeccable soloing. The recording quality and guitar tone in particular are simply superb. Marcus is a straight ahead player relying more on contra punctual dynamics and serious tone than on dizzying technique and that serves this music well indeed sounding at times like Vai, Beck and most noticeably Satriani. Were Joe to seriously entertain this type of music, no doubt it would sound a lot like this.

Not to be outdone, the other musicians each add their own flavor to this brew the keyboards in particular shining on many tracks. These musicians are obviously rejoicing in the opportunity to do their own thing and it shows with a fun and precision filled performance throughout. If you enjoy any of the artists referenced above you will love this one.

Track Listing
01 Comprendes
02 Propellerhead
03 Odd Garage
04 We Need A Plan
05 Wanna Energy
06 Tekky
07 Gold III
08 Miles Ahead
09 Miles Away

Added: November 10th 2006
Reviewer: Mike Blackburn
Related Link: Lion Music
Hits: 6614
Language: english

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Electric Outlet: On!
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-11-10 15:16:03
My Score:

You'll go a long way to find tighter keyboard/guitar interplay than Electric Outlet, with synths and Hammonds and Rhodes counterpointing Satriani-inspired guitar wizardry that focuses more on tonality and finesse and mood than on sheer fretboard gymnastics. You'll go a long way to find tighter drum/bass interplay than Electric Outlet, with one of the fastest, most insistent bass-lines you'll hear this side of jazz. You'll go a long way to find ... well, you get the picture.

On! is all-instrumental jazzy progressive fusion at its best - played by a quartet of artists well known in European session musician circles. They comprise the standard ensemble of bass, guitar, keyboards and drums, and all instruments are masterfully played with none of them taking a back seat at any point in any section. Each instrument is cleanly separated in the mix, but without the in-your-face insistence of an Echolyn, or all those over-produced solo-artist albums.

The keyword when describing On! is energy, and you can tell that these guys were having fun. Even in the rare quieter moments there's an intensity that won't let go. The bass creates an insistent groove in most tracks, the occasional insertion of a spoken phrase gives it a new-agey edge. The odd song titles like "Tekky:, "Odd Garage", and the closing duo of "Miles Ahead" and "Miles Away", leave you with no clue about what the song is supposed to mean. Not that it matters - it's instrumental, it's fusion, and it rocks in the same way that CAB, or the new Atlanta-based Speechless rocks you.

Some tracks have that 'samey' quality that haunts all-instrumental music, but listen closely and you'll be rewarded with fusion that ranges from bluesy funk through jazz, symphonic prog, and some sections have an almost metallic tinge to them. There's a jam-band atmosphere to the music, yet it's tight, it's composed, and it grips you by the scruff of the neck and it won't let go.

Recommended - particularly for fusion fans.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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