Illuminating the highlights of a Homer classic, Californian guitarist creates an epic of his own.
It might have been John Donne who said, “No man is an island,” but it was a Greek poet who mentioned an island called Aeaea in his story of one man’s journey, and now Odyssey’s anabasis serves as a basis for the American musicians’s tale. There’s a lot of gloom in Homer’s poem, yet Duros’ method has always involved light – what with him being a TOTO’s lighting designer for 15 years and playing on a Grammy-nominated “The Scent Of Light” by Ottmar Liebert who delivers an entrancing electric solo on “Chapter X” here – and his fourth album shines a lot if it. Starting with orchestral salvo of prog proportions, the record dissolves such a heavy promise in a series of delicately textured finger runs that, paradoxically, are quite slow yet vibrant as befits the waves’ ebb heard from the shore, and this sparse acoustic ringing of the strings is as majestically mesmerizing.
“Chapter I” also holds a frenetic flamenco promise flung over Stephen’s keyboard strokes and Gary Moser’s darbuka throb before power riffs cut in to rock it, whereas “Chapter VII” is intense and dramatic in its thunder and release, and while “Chapter V” weaves a hot rhythm around the fretted buzz, “Chapter III” brings a dry desert dance to the fore for Duros’ oud to chime. The tension gets high with the percussive fest of “Chapter VIII” once congas break the jive of drums which lead into a Middle Eastern reverie that spills over into a hush of the next piece.
Essentially, all these chapters are only parts of a united whole, although the deliciously translucent Chapter XI” is different in its fusion, bass-slapped, if still folk-minded, sensibility. It propels the flow towards an exhilarating finale, and the sailing has a serene – yet sirens-sung – happy end. So yes, a man can’t be an island but he can build a bridge to one the way this artist did so impressively.