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Monday, April 28, 2008

Mike Starling

Guitar Moods (Bean Hoy Music)

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On the second release in the New World Blues series, the only numbers that sag are those where Milwaukee guitarist Mike Starling drifts into trite elevator music (“Pot O’Gold”) or fake Gypsy stuff (“Jinni”). These are more than compensated for by the many standout moments, including the spare rasp of “Above the Clouds,” the sonic narrative “Rememory” (deserving a better, literate title), the dance through dust of “Amarilla” and, especially, the dirge that refuses sorrow of “Sophie & Boscho.”

The album is focused on the tonalities of the various kinds of guitars being played. It’s unclear which material is related to the blues, but it is quite a new world for moody, instrumental guitar subtlety.