Progressive rock album’s that contain purely and only instrumental music are often at a disadvantage because of the lack of a ‘vocal’ focal point. Somehow, for me anyway, there has to be an extra element of attraction or something really special to retain the listener’s attention for the duration of the entire album. This is also true in a live environment when the musicians in a rock band, unlike a classical concert, have to work that bit harder to keep an audience entertained.
In Art Griffin’s ‘Sound Chaser’ though there is indeed an extra element of attraction. For one thing, Art has surrounded himself with a wonderful array of top-notch Canadian musicians. These guys all blend together so well giving the impression that they have all been together, as a band, for many years rather than, as is the case, individual musician friends coming together for this specific project. Amongst other things, there is a noticeable rapport throughout the band with the individual musical elements melding together so effortlessly. Melodic electric violin phrases and orchestration ebbing and flowing and dancing between the various and many varied guitar and keyboard passages. Such excellent drumming too, so expressive and colourfal, ranging between a variety of shuffling jazz-soaked stylisations and through to more dominant heavier rock influences and then other patterns covering all points in-between. Busy and majestic lead guitar throughout, just so beautiful with images of ‘Santana’ at his very best (especially track 10). The nicely arranged keyboards too adding much colour and stability to the mix, not so much in a lead instrument role but more like the glue cleverly holding everything together. Elements of Mike Oldfield shining therough especially ‘Incantations’
Interestingly enough, as all good music should be, the compositions grow stronger with each successive play and a greater understanding of what was intended by the composer is realised. For example, the overall complexity of the arrangements and how the music transcends between individual sections is worked out to perfection in such a seamless way. In essence, the music, as a whole, is delivered in subtle layers rather than being subject to abrupt time changes. This is demonstrated for example, in the way that the violin, guitar, and keyboards effortlessly melt into one interesting and overall soundscape. There may be, at times, a drawback to this formula inasmuch that the impact of the music lacks a certain sense of wild excitement, however, the quality of the music in itself is more than sufficient to compensate from a listening perspective.
Summary: Interesting progressive rock instrumental style with superb instrumentation throughout.
Cover Art by Roger Deane –No further words needed!
Art Griffin ~ composer, bass, multi-instrumentalist
Kelly Kereliuk ~ lead guitar
Victoria Yeh ~ violin
Steve Negus ~ drums
Ken Baird: keyboard solos
Kelly Kereliuk is the guitarist for PRISMIND/Symphinity/Negus (Steve Negus ex-SAGA)/Sound Chaser, as well as a guitar instructor in the Hamilton area. In addition to his own bands, Kelly has been involved in numerous international recording projects and sessions, spanning many styles and genres.