DARRYL WAY – Ultra Violins

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DARRYL WAY - Ultra Violins

DARRYL WAY – Ultra Violins

Rock bow master reconnects with his symphonic roots to let rip and blitz.

Unlike many other academicians, Darryl Way, a Royal College of Music graduate, never abandoned his original domain – neither with CURVED AIR nor with WOLF – when he went down to the rock bottom. Still, although always striving for alchemical marriage of the two genres, Way’s only genuinely crossover record has been his solo debut, 1978’s "Concerto For Electric Violin". But now, after a long hiatus, the veteran returned to the erstwhile “one-man orchestra” format to fashion what could be described as covers album – if there wasn’t a centuries-long tradition of playing classics in an artist’s own way – or a guilty pleasure.

With two parts of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherezade” setting things in dramatically delicate motion to pin it back down the middle, the liquid sound of violin and Oriental slant bind the well-known opuses into a shape-shifting suite. It’s most obvious when Saint-Saëns’ “Danse Macabre” passes its rhythmic buzz on to Darryl-penned filigree “Tarantelle,” yet now there’s a pop side to the arrangements due to a synthetic backdrop and the drums that add a lighthearted groove in some places. It may serve the primordial purpose of the latter compositions or Borodin’s “Polovtsian Dances” but the overall flow gets somewhat homogeneous. Such an approach levels the singularity of original pieces and their breathing dynamics, that’s why the perfectly layered Bizet’s “Farandole” stands out with its booty-shaking buzz.

It’s there, in its last third that the record really comes alive to reach the climax with the violinist’s most famous appropriation of classical music, “Vivaldi.” This time Way’s regular showcase turns into a blistering epilogue with orchestral strings attached to the fore of it all, underpinned with electric guitars and drums and stitch to the metal disco step with much gusto. Here, the “ultra” part of the album’s title is realized at last, but substituting a tint of “violet” with a hint at “violence” would render this entire offering even more full-blooded.

****

December 1, 2013

Category(s): Reviews
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