Curtis, Anthony - Book Of The Key

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Jester Records
Catalog Number: Trick038
Format: CD
Total Time: 73:31:00

Anthony Curtis doesn't just play the guitar; he tortures it.? The demented sounds emitted have you thinking he is doing battle with his instrument.? The track "Hymn To Helios" shows this off, as Curtis spends the majority of the three minutes conjuring growling feedback from his instrument. Supported by a stellar cast including King Crimson vets Tony Levin and Pat Mastelletto, Curtis does not run through your ordinary bag of licks and tricks, opting for something different, constantly experimenting with guitar sounds.? Complementing the guitar is the violin of Jeff Gauthier, an instrument that really made its mark in the fusion sound of the 70s, from Mahavishnu to the Dixie Dregs.? To make sure that authentic touch is there, guest Mike Keneally (better known for his outrageous guitar playing) can be found on Fender Rhodes.?

The overall vibe of the music owes a debt to 70's fusion.? "Gallabalba" sounds like something from Discipline-era Crimson, while the opening "Ruins" has more of a space vibe. "Book Of The Key" is the disc's centerpiece, clocking in at a whopping 23 minutes. The song begins to evolve into a monster, jam packed instrumental romp, with eerie violin scratches, a powerful propulsive rhythm section, Keneally's keys, and Curtis' guitar abuse. "Balinus" is a percussion based track, with the violin and guitars bubbling underneath. "Saturnalia" is one of the best songs that allow both Curtis and Gauthier to duel with one another. As a self admitted sucker for the violin, this strikes a chord with me, and Gauthier appears to have a lot of freedom within the music. Curtis shows his softer side with the beautiful acoustic showcase "From The Towers To The Dome of Heaven." Gauthier's violin plays the melody, its only flaw is being an extremely short two minutes.

Curtis is able to get his point across whether he is arranging a 20 minute piece, or a short, concise musical idea. What you get is a lot of energy and power throughout the CD, as long as some of the tracks are, the playing demands your attention. ? His gritty, raw guitar tone provides an interesting counter to the thick, rich sounds of the violin.? Curtis has a unique approach to guitar playing, and it is not often these days to hear this kind of originality.

Ruins (12:15) / Gallabalba (2:17) / Inland Sea (3:09) / Book Of The Key (22:34) / Hymn To Helios (3:31) / Balinus (3:58) / Saturnalia (3:58) / From Towers To The Dome Of Heaven (2:08) / Hikmat Al-Ishraq (16:17) / Oracle (2:22)

Anthony Curtis - guitars, oud
Tony Levin - bass, Chapman stick
Lewis Pragasam - drums, percussion
Mike Keneally - Fender Rhodes
Jeff Gauthier - violin
Ronan Chris Murphy - harmonium

The Deepest Seat (1987)
Variations On The Theme Of Being (1989)
Everything Is Relative (1991)
Squint (1994)
One Hour Talisman (1997)
Book Of The Key (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: July 15th 2006
Reviewer: Eric Porter

Artist website:
Hits: 1189
Language: english


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