Synapse Collapse is the 1997 release by finger style guitar virtuoso, Richard Gilewitz. Gilewitz is an incredible guitarist who has received considerable critical acclaim, yet remains lesser known than some of his peers such as John Fahey, Leo Kottke and the late Michael Hedges. However, Gilewitz "anonymity has not prevented him from performing as the opening act for headliners such as Indigo Girls, John Hammond, Steve Morse and Squirrel Nut Zippers, among others. While criss-crossing the country, Gilewitz has continued to hone his skills, thrilling audiences lucky enough to hear him perform his guitar magic.
Synapse Collapse includes several new recordings of songs found on Gilewitz' 1986 debut recording, Somewhere In Between, combined with new material that demonstrates his growth and maturation as a performer. The CD also includes a bit of additional instrumentation to the soloist's repertoire that give an added dimension to several songs. Gilewitz' rendition of Jorma Kaukonen's "Embryonic Journey" is deepened by the inclusion of some nice piano fills by David Webb as are "Minuet For The Backwoods" and the finale, "Jeannie Sleeping." On the Gilewitz originals, "Bilingual Fantasy" and "Dirt To Dust," Gumbi Ortiz provides some driving Latin rhythms to add yet another twist to the Gilewitz sound. The songs offer elements of folk, blues, jazz and classical music that are quite attractive to the listener regardless of their musical interests.
Highlights among the thirteen songs on the CD include the exceptional version of "Embryonic Journey;" the delightfully hypnotic sound of "The Sailor's Grave On The Prairie;" and a distinctive version of W.C. Handy's seminal tune, "St. Louis Blues." The CD also includes two songs written by Gilewitz' guitar instructor, David Walbert. "Dance" and "Prelude" are both very well done and offer a nice acknowledgment of Gilewitz' mentor.
Among the originals, "Dirt To Dust" offers a very entertaining and rhythmic sound with a Latin flavor. "Bilingual Fantasy" is soft and flowing, while the title track, "Synapse Collapse," offers several different mood changes and a nice recurring theme in a song that is just short of six minutes long. The final original, "Echoing Wilderness," begins eerily and flows along nicely, incorporating significant use of harmonics throughout the song. The song also includes multiple shifts in style and tempo, breaking the song into separate "movements" as might occur in a piece of classical music.
If you enjoy masterful guitar and a high level of creativity, you will definitely enjoy Synapse Collapse by Richard Gilewitz. To learn more about Gilewitz, visit his website at www.songs.com/gilewitz. The CD can be readily purchased through the website or at Amazon Records (www.amazon.com).
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
Click button to join
our mailing list!