Exposé Online banner

7 for 4 — Splash
(MGI Records MGR 1026, 2014, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-11-05

Splash Cover art

The world has no shortage of technically difficult instrumental music, and the genre of jazz-rock fusion supplies a significant portion of it. Difficulty on its own is neither a positive nor a negative factor — unless you're some kind of technique junkie who gets off on fast riffs and lightning unison lines. The trick is to make it musical enough to appeal to non-fetishists. 7 for 4, led by German guitar teacher Wolfgang Zenk, who also handles the keyboards and all the composition, range pretty wide stylistically, from classic fusion to country-inflected rave-ups (rather along the lines of what Dixie Dregs did on their classic material). As you might expect from someone whose day job is teaching guitar, Zenk utilizes pretty much every known technique on his instrument, and tosses off flurries of 32nd notes with seeming effortlessness. But in the midst of all the flashy playing, there are some solid tunes with good melodies, and the diversity of the writing keeps it from sounding all the same. Bassist Markus Grützner and drummer Klaus Engl supply what's needed, but Zenk is clearly the focal point. There's a long continuum between the sloppy fumbling of inexperienced players and the quantized precision of completely programmed music; 7for4 is firmly entrenched quite a ways down toward the precision end of the scale, so no doubt many listeners will find the music overly technical. While my personal taste generally favors music that is less meticulous in execution, Zenk and company won me over with this release. Though I would like to hear them loosen up a bit and sound like they're having more fun.


Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): 7 for 4

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Coronarias Dans - Visitor – Every corner of the world, so it would seem, has a closet chock full of musical gems waiting to be discovered. From a corner of Denmark's junk room, this wonderful little jewel comes to delight...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues