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Kulju, Dave: Notes in the Margin

Dave Kulju is a multi-instrumentalist hailing from the United States and is a member of the New England band Electrum. Notes in the Margin is Kulju's second solo album and is the follow up to Abstract Expression.

This is the first I have heard of Kulju and listening to Notes in the Margin was a pleasant surprise indeed. Kulju is a talented musician playing a variety of instruments including electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, guitar synthesizer, sound fx and programming. Frank Basile adds his expertise on the drumkit and Annie Oya provides guest vocals on "A Poet's Talespin". Ian Cameron adds violin on "Know Again". Kulju began working on Notes In The Margin in December, 2007 with the final product finally released this year. The time was well spent as Kulju exhibits a tremendous attention to detail throughout the album's nine tracks. His guitar playing is top notch and clearly emanates from the Dave Gilmour school of guitarists and I mean that as a compliment. While Kulju can play at a faster pace he chooses a more refined approach with languid lead lines that drip with emotion. His guitar rhythms and dynamic lead work give these compositions plenty of texture adding layers to an already rich sound. The music on Notes in the Margin is clearly entrenched in progressive rock in the vein of bands like Pink Floyd and Rush. While his guitar playing is a highlight throughout this CD one cannot overlook his use of keyboards which flesh out the sound rather nicely and are never over bearing.

Lush keyboards and sound effects begin the Floyd-like "Skating on Europa" where spacey soundscapes and edgy guitar rhythms are commonplace. Besides the spacey undercurrent there are also elements of post rock. "Know Again" takes a slightly jazzier approach with spacious guitar rhythms and drumming to match. The music slowly builds becoming more intense as the seconds tick by. Ian Cameron's violin is a nice touch.

For me the albums best song is the multi part epic "A Poet's Talespin", based on two poems by Amanda Joy. The song's theme is that of a poem unfolding from a dream and how a poet can create a totally different world than the one he or she lives in. Melancholic piano melodies with a classical bent and Floydian guitar work is what you will mostly find here. Kulju's lead guitar playing is a highlight as he has a tremendous feel for the instrument demonstrating that sometimes less is more.

The heavy "Get the Hell off my Lawn" is another slice of melodic progressive rock featuring more stellar guitar where the atmospheric rhythms are slightly blurred, again recalling Dave Gilmour. The album ends with the pastoral "Counted the Stars" featuring sound effects over a bed of gently flowing keys.

Kulju has made an excellent sophomore effort with Notes in the Margin. Fans of Gilmour inspired guitar work and melodic progressive rock will surely want this in their collection and I can see this one getting plenty of more spins in the days and months to come.

Track Listing:
1. Skating on Europa (9:33)
2. Know Again (6:24)
3-7. A Poet's Talespin (29:35)
i. Half-Slept Moments
ii. Soft Collisions
iii. The Bridge
iv. I Write
v. In the Shadows
8. Get the Hell off my Lawn (4:18)
9. Counted the Stars (1:18)

Added: September 4th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2894
Language: english

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