Sometimes, albums are handed over to review that really should appeal to you, just because as a true guitar freak, you are supposed to be the one to write about it. So, now I find myself in a difficult situation, Amp L'étude by Tone Masseve could be the ultimate guitar album, just for the reason almost everything you hear is guitar, but in a way I'm not getting into it (yet?)
To begin with, Tone's story is a bit of a sad one as he tragically died of pneumonia in 1997, aged only 27. Leaving an unfinished album that was picked up twenty years later by Jethro Tull's Doane Perry, who finished the album with help from dedicated professional musicians. Nothing bad from the dead and I recognize the talent of Tone, being dyslexic; he could not only instantly memorize and reproduce a melody. Looking/ listening to the twelve tracks on the album, all interpretations of very well know classical compositions, I get the feeling I have heard it all before. And yes, I did hear all these way too familiar classical compositions many times and also way too many times arranged to be played in an electric environment. Besides that, I think I have heard other interpretations I like more or have been arranged to add something to the tunes. For instance I prefer Jason Becker's Air over Tone's Aire On A G String, just because of the virtuosity of Becker as a guitarist. Tone uses a lot of different guitars and more; tons of fuzz, which give the outcome a kind of dated feel. You need to like his tone to appreciate his versions of the most common classical tunes. Perhaps if he had chosen for more unknown classical music, it could have been interesting. For me, I do like the effort, but doesn't sound interesting enough to listen to the album more than the several spins it got to write a review.
Some things are better to be left alone, sorry to say this. Perhaps if Tone Masseve was given a few years more he would have had the time to let the compositions mature before releasing.
**+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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