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Campese, Mike: Electric City

In the vein of Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen comes the latest album from Mike Campese entitled Electric City, his seventh to date. Like those artists mentioned Campese is a guitar virtuoso and is not afraid to show it throughout his latest release.

Born in New York City, Campese started playing at the age of thirteen and moved to California after high school to enrol in one of the top guitar schools in North America, GIT. He graduated with top honours and moved back to New to ply his trade. His resume includes guitar instructor, writer, session musician, member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and has toured with many artists including Michael Schenker, Lou Reed, Kip Winger and a lot more too numerous to mention.

On Electric City Campese pulls out all the stops and does not hold back. Over seventy-five minutes of Campese' patented neo classical shredding and lightning fast finger work. This is heavy guitar based rock with elements of fusion and his playing often ventures into jazzier territory which helps to keep things fresh and exciting. Campese is such a technical player it almost works as a detriment as the shredding almost gets a little tiresome at times but fortunately he mixes it up just enough to keep things interesting.

Campese' chops are evident right from the start with "Eleventh Degree", a song boasting enough blistering fretwork to fill an entire album let alone one song. "Shred Machine" is just what the title implies, although this one plays out more like a guitar exhibition than anything else. Much more interesting is the Eastern inspired "Cruisin Across the Mojave" where Campese shows he is more than a neo-classical shredder and a pretty good vocalist to boot. Another excellent tune is the catchy "Kauai Blue" with its balladesque beginning and lush vocal harmonies. The mix of Eastern and fusion sounds works amazingly well. The mellow sounding "Closer to the Sun" has Campese slowing down the tempo while still including his patented fast as lightning fretwork. The album ends with the progressive sounding "Camelryde" with its Floydish beginning of guitar and keys before expanding into more guitar pyrotechnics with a decidedly Eastern flavour. Campese lets his guitar chords slowly sink in making for a greater emotional impact.

Although the album's running length of seventy-five plus minutes may seem a little long and the guitar tends to overpower the other instruments Electric City is a fine CD that will have budding guitarists everywhere salivating at the mouth. If you enjoy guitar based music you will probably want this in your collection, I know I do.

Track Listing:
1. Eleventh Degree
2. Shred Machine
3. Heavy Thing
4. Cruisin Across the Mojave
5. Over the Top
6. Kauai Blue
7. Closer to the Sun
8. Napali Coast
9. Punk Ass
10. Land Shark
11. Shred
12. The Bitch Upstairs
13. Butterfingers
14. Camelryde

Added: December 23rd 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1526
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Campese, Mike: Electric City
Posted by Alex Torres, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-12-23 05:50:47
My Score:


Why, when "double-albums" are so hard to pull off, when there are so few really loved double-albums in the history of rock? Why would you want to record a 75 minute CD of instrumental guitar technobratics?

OK, there's three sung tracks on Electric City, but the album is basically a vehicle for displaying Mike Campese's undoubted skill on the guitar. However, despite being recognised as a guitar virtuoso, and an able tutor across a range of styles on the guitar, Electric City still comes across as a compilation of very similar sounding guitar technobratics. For this sort of thing I'd say that 50 minutes max is enough.

This will appeal to those lead guitar fans who enjoy devouring anything technical and virtuosic, even if it's at the expense of musicality. For more general music fans, if you are intrigued to give this a try, then I suggest you first listen to "Heavy Thing", which has an interesting rhythm, and to "Camelryde", which departs slightly from the technobratic domination and features some enjoyable Eastern phrasing, especially at its beginning.

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