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Kehell — Galileo
(Musea MP 3034.AR, 1999, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1999-04-01

Galileo Cover art

It’s been a few years since this excellent Japanese fusion outfit has released anything new, their last being Arrow of Time from ‘93. Led by guitarist / composer Shigekazu Kamaki (formerly of Mr. Sirius, see our review of his solo album), the band is now a trio of essentially guitar / bass / drums (although Kamaki has no problem pulling some great keyboard sounds out of his guitar synths and pedal synth array). Former keyboardist Tsotomo Suzuki is now serving in an engineering and production capacity. While the orientation of Kehell’s music is clearly in a jazz-rock direction, their sound remains dense, heavily rock infused, electric, and highly melodic — a sound that should please fans of the Holdsworth / Jeff Beck / Tribal Tech axis. Bassist Yasusuki Hirose provides highly animated bottom end structures with drummer Toru Hamada, freeing Kamaki to concentrate on the melodic underpinning and some wicked solos — though the interchanges between Kamaki and Hirose are the highlight of several of the tunes, most notably “Replica.” A few tracks have a gentler ‘acoustic’ feel due to general restraint by all, combined with the liberal use of pedal synths for melodic wash and skillful studio techniques. The highly complex rhythm patterns at the intro of “Paranoid” exemplify the tightness and chops of this highly cohesive three-piece unit — it almost sounds like part of a drum solo that the full band decided to create something else out of. Closer “Las Campanas” offers a catchy rhythm with some of the discs most spirited playing by all, including one of Kamaki’s rapid-fire solos as the song fades. Satisfying from beginning to end, this is a disc that should interest fans of superior guitar chops and excellent ensemble work. My highest recommendation.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 17, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Kehell, Shigikazu Kamaki


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