Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nathanael Hale - Reflections

Hear The Track Here

Yet another new name to me from Soundclick, a site that continues to throw me curve balls at me with amazing regularity, Nathanael Hale is essentially a guitarist, nothing more. Or at least that's the impression he seems to be giving you glancing at his webpage. New to Soundclick, too be the looks of it, but don't let that disturb you. Remember the curve ball comment I made earlier? Nathanael Hale provides one of them in Reflections which is a pure guitar instrumental - so no surprise there then. The surprise mainly comes from it's almost indecent haste to end and it's brief attention span, it tops out at a measly one minute, twenty seconds or so. There again, this from the guitarist who has a track called 18 Second Shred which does exactly what it says, I suppose Reflections could be taken as an epic track by that scale.

Wait...shred??? Shred???? I dread shred.

Hold on a minute while I get my mouth working straight again, that was hard to say. Seriously, as I downloaded this track, I thought 18 seconds? Why not? Well, I'll tell you why not. I'm a guitarist. While I can appreciate the physical dexterity and prowess to pull off perfect shreddage every once in a while, when it becomes the norm it gets stale, real quick. OK admittedly 18 seconds wouldn't kill anyone but at the time I was downloading Reflections and imagining what I might be letting myself in for. For a start, I didn't expect it to be so short and I certainly didn't expect to like it as much as I ended up doing. Remember the central image of this review; a man and a guitar. Takes more than shredding to keep me interested for MORE than 18 seconds and even one minute and change of it would have me screaming for the exit.

Reflections turns out to be a track in one of my favourite genres: swing jazz, More to the point it is extremely well done swing jazz and that is a hard one to get right - particularly when it comes down to guitar where tone becomes all important. Well, obviously Nathanael Hale knows all about tone (as well as metal shreddings) and that makes him a guitarist worthy of knowing. His fluidity and precision of playing are what propels the track and it kinda reminds me of Joe Pass in style, and that's definitely standing on the shoulder of a great. I would dearly have loved to hear more of this track and I wonder why it fades so quickly, this is just the start of a great jam surely? Oh well... and then I saw Reflections (version 2) on the site and discovered that it now stretched to two whole minutes. Imagine the joy!

Highly Recommended for jazz buffs.

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