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Joel Hoekstra

REVIEWS

Having the opportunity to have listened and reviewed Joel Hoekstra's Undefined cd here at Prognosis, would have never prepared me for what I would be hearing on his latest 2003 effort called The Moon Is Falling. I truly enjoyed Undefined which mean't Joel was an artist that I would be keeping an eye on in the future. After the first go through on this cd, I had to re-examine myself to consider what I had just heard. So I began to repeatedly play this cd on every system I have for the next couple weeks. And even now as I type, I am truly amazed at the entertainment value that Joel has concocted for this release. Apparently he has been a busy man in the studio, not only as a writer, but the production aspects of this cd make it, in and of itself something of a new standard for instrumental, guitar based recordings. Joel again has employed the extreme drumming talents of Virgil Donati, and fellow Australian, bassist Ric Fierabracci, who have both recently toured together with the phenominal heavy fusion quartet, Planet X. As if those names aren't enough to stimulate one's peak interest for hard instrumental music, it should also be noted that Joel is actually on this cd as well, while not as well known as the Aussie connection, it is his vision and incredible talents that makes this cd such a 'must buy' for fans of progressive, instrumental music. Most everyone knows that there are more good guitar players 'out there' than one could have ever imagined, very few of them are attempting to do more in the way of innovation or making compositional statements, but are merely content to display the latest techniques they have perfected in their hours of practice. So with much pleasure hearing what Joel Hoekstra has invented on this cd, only leads me to give it my highest recommendation. The Moon Is Falling, is a collection of 14 songs, a collection that entertains the senses beyond aural and sonic impressions, the cd leaves one wondering how it ended so fast. Not only are there world class musicians performing at their very best, they are doing it in a format that reaches a quite a bit deeper than performances alone. Joel shows that careful detailing in complex arrangements can make for music of the highest intrigue. And that riff and licks alone don't leave a lasting impression, but content and delivery do. His ability to write music that demands and allows the musicians to be at their very best, also gets enhanced by many other facets, sound bytes, loops, and most of all, his incredible selection of tonal variations on the guitar. Joel's last cd was called Undefined, a word that aptly describes the musical varieties on this cd. At times you will get punchy, staccato like, Planet X grooves, but not for long, the music will take you on adventures into your imagination, as if a soundtrack to many different vignettes, ie: Sci-fi, adventure, horror, detective dramas, etc. There are even some very intimate guitar pieces towards the end of the cd with songs - Antonia, Confessions & Lull, all beautiful pieces that show a more serious side, reminding me of players like Phil Keaggy or some of Brett Garseds' most recent work. This is one of the most impressive cds by a guitarist I have heard, not only is his playing excellent, and the musician contributions stellar, but in the way it was produced. Every aspect of musical appreciation is redefined on The Moon Is Falling. This cd comes with my highest recommendation for fans of hard, complex, progressive, instrumental music. Look for it at Joels' website, or Guitar Nine Records. It's a can't miss!

--MJBrady, Proggnosis

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