Guitar International – Vince Lewis

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 “Busstra has a good command of the instrument, and a musical voice that combines both the Scofield and Metheny in his playing.”

This is the debut album as a leader for Dutch guitarist Marnix Busstra. He co-led two previous recordings with vibist-composer Mike Mainieri. 2009 saw Twelve Piece and in 2010 they recorded a double live CD titled Trinary Motion. On this CD the Amsterdam guitarist is joined by Rembrandt Frerichs (piano), Arnold Dooyeweerd (bass) and Pieter Bast (drums).

The ten selections on the album are Busstra originals. They each leave plenty of room for rubato sections which allow the players to express themselves more freely than usual.  “Earth Tone” opens the set, and features Busstra on electric sitar-guitar.  The melody is simple, yet effective in capturing the ethnic flavor and spirit of the instrument.  The rhythm section floats above a repetitive bass line quite nicely.

“Wise Witch” is up next, and gives Busstra a chance to come on strong with a punchy and distorted John Scofield influenced tone. Busstra states that he likes the fuzzy tone in order to achieve a singing sound.  Bast has a chance here to provide everything from an almost street beat on the drums to more punctuation marks percussively.  “Down And Up Again” is a bright melody in 6/8.  Frerichs contributes a fine and modern funky tinged solo on this tune.

“Small Truth” is a very pretty ballad with an interesting but simple harmonic structure.  Busstra lets his single notes float above an ostinato accompaniment by his rhythm section.  “Wave Swinger” returns to the bluesy distortion sound and crosses boundaries between the more modern and traditional swing feel.

Other tunes are “Octoforce,” “Desolation,”  “Peasant’s Party” and “Between Blue and Brown”.

The title cut “Sync Dreams” features some nice piano and guitar unisons stating the intervallic melody line.  Busstra describes this track as “totally free, but it is also a composition”.  Frerichs has a chance to show his very credible technical skill here.

This is an interesting recording.  Busstra has a good command of the instrument, and a musical voice that combines both the Scofield and Metheny in his playing. Listeners who prefer this type of energy and distortion driven music should give it a listen.