Anyone savvy enough to recognize what an unusual player Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple) was is someone who's going to figure out what's what in the music world, and Brett Garsed got a jump start, taking up the six-stringed axe after hearing Blackmore at the tender age of 12. Interestingly, though, after running through all the greats as prime influences (Hendrix, Page, Beck, Gilmour, Gallagher, Van Halen, Kottke, etc.), he's ended up more the Steve Morse by way of Jeff Beck than a Blackmore…and Morse has been the only gent able to really take Ritchie's place in the estimable old ensemble, bringing a fresh new sound and direction, keeping the flame alive.
This of course means that Garsed's a shredder as well as in possession of a lyrical ear, so much so that he's played with Alan Holdsworth, Dennis Chambers, Ginger Baker's son Kofi, Paul Stanley, and behind John Farnham on a record-breaking tour. Dark Matter is a guitarist's CD in the tradition of the great old Guitar Recordings label, a tour of technique, composition, and contrasts. If Only, for instance, heads straight for Beck's Blow by Blow territory—restrained, considered, and elegant—while James Bong (License to Chill) is a righteous conflation of old Brand X, Ronnie Montrose's solo stuff, and big city shuffle.
I have to say that I was also reminded of some of Janne Schaeffer's earliest solo materials, maybe a bit of Walt Barr as well, tossed into a modernist blender. A great deal of help in that comes from Phil Turcio's Jan Hammer-esque keyboards (Garsed and Turcio trade off great solos in Poison Dwarf as Turcio launches the guitarist to new heights), Ric Fierabracci's percolating bass, and Gerry Pantazis' oft train engine drumming. In the 11-minute closer, Enigma, Turcio starts up as a Zawinuled Vitali Kuprij letting down into Garsed's broad vistas and chordal moods, only to later spark anew as the song kicks over into DiMeola territory for extended soloing. Each track gives ample room for plenty of mood-making, exploration, and pyrotechnics, so don't expect a stodgy one trick pony here but rather a broad palette.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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