Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Time: It’s Good – and Howe

Steve Howe: Time
Warner Classics

Time is a collection of highly personal pieces by former Yes guitarist Steve Howe. As a solo project, it works pretty well.

If the last time you heard Steve Howe's work was when he was with Yes or Asia, then you won't find many similarities here. But if you've been keeping up his twenty+ solo albums Howe's been releasing since 1975, then Time will seem just another step in the growth of this artist.

With this album, Howe keeps his musical focus tight. The pieces are small -- almost miniatures -- with  stripped-down instrumentation. Even when he brings in classical musicians, the sound is transparent, light, and delicate

Personally, I don’t think much of classical crossover material, which colors my reaction to some of the tracks. Howe presents his own  versions of works by Ginastera, Bach and Vivaldi. While I understand the concept behind their inclusion – these are melodies that inspired Howe – I find them little more than pleasant background music.

Of greater interest to me are his original tunes. Howe plays a variety of acoustic guitars (all carefully documented track-by-track in the liner notes). Although there’s a consistent sound throughout the album, there’s also enough variety in the character of the individual tracks to make for a rewarding listening experience.

Don’t expect a lot of blistering guitar solos on Time. Howe displays his virtuosity in a more subtle form – by playing complex music effortlessly. If you’re expecting a return to Yes, you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re interested in some solid guitar artistry, Time might be worth your time.

No comments:

Post a Comment