Hunter's 7-string guitar is joined by Simon Lott on drums and Erik Deutsch on piano and other keyboards on their new release Mistico. From the cool jazz intro to the next track, a rocky number titled "Speakers Built in", you can immediately tell that its going to be hard to categorise Mistico purely as a jazz record, despite Hunter's background with the Blue-Note label.
The album has many flavors intermingled, making it an interesting as well as entertaining journey. The unique sound of the seven string guitar applies a tonality all of its own and the band have dreamt up some varied time signatures and chord progressions which dabble in progressive rock territory. Lott even uses an old CasioTone keyboard and squelches out some enticing synthesised sounds on top of his Fender Rhodes in "Estranged" whilst Deutsch has the chance to dominate on "Balls", a percussive tour de force.
"Wizard Sleeve" features that peculiarly whiny Casiotone again in one of the most intricate compositions for guitar and keyboards on the album. In "Drop a dime" Charlie is back in more jazzy territory with a double bass effect lending the trio a rather more traditional feel; despite this the chord progression is distinctly out of jazz realms and the end of the track has a delightful, almost Country air to it as it dissociates from its main theme.
A cycling scale figure on the piano, off-beat drum lines and astringent guitar are some of the characteristics of "Spoken Word", perhaps the most unusual and inventive work on the album. "Special Shirt" on the other hand has a decidedly funky feel and struts smartly across the stage to Hunter's cheeky wah-wah effects and Lott's syncopated piano.
With the title track, the band take an extended piece of over seven minutes and explore the worlds of psychedelia. The tinkling bells and echo effects generate an enigmatic opening with that odd Casio sound epitomising the unreality. The trio develop the piece slowly with guitar and keyboards creating several distinct focuses of sound whilst Deutsch controls things with steady drum rhythms. Hunter's guitar is at its most evocative on this work, played in more of a rock than jazz style with an extended work out at the end. "Chimp Gut" closes out the album with a loose and jaunty rhythm and blues-influenced pastiche.
Nice one Charlie.
2. Speakers Built in
5. Wizard Sleeve
6. Drop a dime
7. Spoken word
8. Special Shirt
10. Chimp gut