Nick Fletcher is a guitar picker and composer who has been playing and writing music since 1981 and he has played in many bands and recorded many CDs of classical guitar. For this album called Quadrivium - the name Plato gave to the four noble arts - Fletcher teamed up with drummer Anika Nilles (Jeff Beck), Caroline Bonnet (keyboards), Dave Bainbridge (keyboards) and Tim Harries on bass guitar.
After the first spin I was overwhelmed by the fabulous guitar playing of Fletcher and the inspirational power and musical creativity. The album opens in a very spectacular way with A Wave On The Ocean Of Eternity, featuring almost ambient keyboard melodies, followed by Pink Floyd kind of guitar melodies and solos at an exceedingly high musical level, giving me the first goosebumps while listening to Quadrivium. With follow up Overture To The Cosmos the rocking starts, reminding me of Steve Hackett for sure, while Riding The Event Horizon sounds jazzy - hello Alan Holdsworth - and it is packed with twists and turns, brilliant solos and melodies and excellent drumming, making it the second highlight of this marvellous album indeed.
Milestone number three would be The Fifth Parallel, starting with beautiful arpeggios and turning into a roller-coaster of a track full of musical diversity; love it. It even gets better with The Journey To Varanasi which is loaded with heavy, metal -like guitar passages and keyboards creating an Far Eastern vibe and atmosphere and I immediately thought of the Led Zeppelin classic Kashmir; what a song and man, this Nick Fletcher can play a mean guitar for sure; the fourth absolute highlight of Quadrivium indeed!
Quadrivium is an amazing guitar album, very impressive as it sounds absolutely gorgeous with Fletcher showing what he can do with his electric guitar; and that is a lot!!! Furthermore, this album is extremely well produced, mixed, and recorded, sounding crystal clear and yet also powerful indeed. Quadrivium is my personal favourite guitar/fusion album of the year 2023, so check it out with your headphones on and you will be blown away, for sure.
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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