Vy stands for Puerto Rican musician Gaby Vidal, a Berklee College alumni who gained a lot of experience in numerous bands and he records his solo efforts under the name of Vy. His playing is influenced by some of the greatest guitarists like Jeff Beck, Robert Fripp, David Gilmour and Steve Morse, which results in very experimental compositions filled with a nice and varied pallet of sounds. No wonder since the bands Gaby plays in differ from pop-shoegaze, jazz/fusion, post rock/noise to afrobeat and progressive rock.
On his second solo effort, simply named 2, Gaby Vidal gets the help of several musicians who provide drums, bass, chapman stick and brass instruments, something I really can appreciate, for those “real” musicians give the overall sound a nice earthy atmosphere and not the colder sound which programmed instruments sometimes add to the music. So, 2 is a quite diverse album, from the opener, which is a King Crimson reminding song, called Intro; filled with soundscapes and odd guitar sounds and strange rhythms, to the bluesy guitar that is played in the vein of David Gilmour during the song Bob, Pt.1, merging Pink Floyd with the likes of Calexico and an additional sauce of the old Wishbone Ash. While on the other side there is total noise and chaos on Frank Is Real, tributing the master of structured chaos; Frank Zappa. Towards the end the twin guitars return to the tune with again a Wishbone Ash touch. There is also a form of free jazz as we end up listening to Asleep Or Dead; another style Vy masters. With Bob, Pt 2 you might think the blues of the first part would return, but this one is a short repeating post rock song. Extraordinary is the tune It Is What It Is, flamenco based and filled with post rock elements, combining two complete different worlds and when you add the bluesy solo, it's three worlds. Chemtrails and Tin Foil Hat are nice experimental compositions with twin guitars and highlighting the bass, here the groove takes you on a short journey through music. The closest thing to regular progressive rock must be Otro Paseo, nice and powerful at times and filled with melody. The ultimate weirdness is kept to last, Zappa times two, regarding experimental drifts. Is Frank Dead? Is a song for the ones that dare and are not afraid of some weirdness in music.
2 is not the average album. Many styles and moods pass by and I can imagine you might not be a fan of all these individual styles, but the way Vy combines all his influences certainly is impressive. I have heard some amazing things here, combinations I would have never thought of. Still; an album not for the faint-hearted.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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