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Joel Hoekstra

REVIEWS

The Moon Is Falling is a totally different kettle of fish, nothing standard or predictable here. Joel Hoekstra takes us through an ever changing musical feast - fusing rock, jazz, funk and even classical. There are more twists and turns than in Agatha Christie novel and therefore this is an album that makes you sit up and pay attention. Also welcoming within all this complexity is certain amount of humour or "tongue in cheek moments", which help to break the intensity - a sort of repite for the mind.

The Moon Is Falling is the second album from Joel and follows up Undefined (2000). The core of that band are re-united here with Hoekstra himself (guitars), the formidable Virgil Donati (drums) and wonderful Ric Fierbracci (bass). Guesting throughout this album are Dan Cipriano (sax and flutes) and Jay Cappo (keyboards).

I can't say that this was love on first hearing, but more of an album that grew and grew on me. Initially it was the virtuosity of the musicians that attracted me, and the quirkieness that put me off. However subsequent listenings revealed some magnificent music and the oddness seemed less jarring and almost complementary. What made this album appealing was the variation within the guitar sounds. The multi-effects processing giving subtle nuances to the music and therefore building an unusual backdrop to the music. I was reminded of some of Steve Via's work circa Flex-Able in this respect. Layered over this canvass is the some great rock and jazz playing from all the musicians.

Selecting notable tracks from this album proved to be more difficult than I initially thought as each time I went through the tracks for this purpose, I found I had selected most of the album. But those that initially grabbed me where Translucent, with it's almost Holdsworthian intro and splendidly restrained guitar passages. The gentle and beautiful Antonia. The intense but infectious 9/11 followed by the tongue in cheek inter-galactic warnings of Join Us (and not in fact "Joanna". A totally strange title for this piece as I had intially thought - maybe the warnings will be wasted on some us :-)). Kaleidoscope for its great playing. And finally the delicate, concluding Lull.

Once again we see that not all "guitar albums" are the same. Joel Hoekstra has made an album that features the guitar as its principal voice, but shows that variation and imagination hold a far greater key to good music. As mentioned in the opening of this Special Feature, much of your possible enjoyment may on the surface be influenced by your like (or dislike) of the guitar instrumental, but it would be a shame if you missed this one purely from a pre-conceived notion.

Conclusion: 8- out of 10

Bob Mulvey, Dutch Progressive Rock Page

Read the review on the Dutch Progressive Rock Page.

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