Search - Michael Harris :: Distorted Views

Distorted Views
Michael Harris
Distorted Views
Genres: Jazz, Metal


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CD Details

All Artists: Michael Harris
Title: Distorted Views
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: IMF Records
Release Date: 6/17/2003
Genres: Jazz, Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 735514211924

CD Reviews

Michael Harris Sees Through Distorted Views? I Think Not!
Keith Langerman | Albuquerque, NM USA | 04/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Can Michael Harris do anything wrong? After three excellent albums by his band Arch Rival, an excellent collaboration with famed guitarist David T. Chastain, and two fantastic previous solo albums, guitarist extrordinaire Harris returns with his third solo release, the all instrumental guitar tour de force 'Distorted Views'. Harris is an absolute monster of a guitarist, combining the lyricism of Satriani, the technical virtuosity of Vai, the speed of Malmsteen with the feeling of Beck to conjure up an original mix that simply has to be heard to be believed. Harris is the kind of guitarist that inspires other guitarists after hearing him to either be inspired to greater heights or to throw down their guitars in disgust. Yes, he's that good! The album starts out with a short classically influenced acoustic guitar instrumental "Chambre Noire",which showcases Harris' esteemable acoustic technique to good effect. Featuring Harris on three multi tracked acoustic parts, this serves as a nice intro to the album.Then, almost as soon as it arrives it's gone,going right into "Transmigration of Souls", which opens with some very ethreal sounding keyboards before Harris unleashes with an amazing flurry of notes before the band kicks in with a heavy, progressive metal beat courtesy of Derek Bailey and Rob Stankiewicz (bass and drums respectively) of the band Haji's Kitchen. This track really demonstrates Harris' versatility, as his playing recalls the classic work of Al DiMeola, Joe Satriani and Frank Marino all within the same song! "Identity Crisis" is a heavy jazz influenced composition that also gets the funk out righteously! Sounding at various times like Jeff Beck ala 'Blow By Blow' mixed with heavy, progressive leaning metal, this is a wonderful track that's driven by the nimble rhythm section of bassist Adam Nitti and drummer Mike Haid, who lay down a wicked groove, on top of which Harris takes advantage of to full effect."Centurion" is an extremely melodic composition that's progressive, filled with many complicated time changes that shows Harris playing some fantastic rhythm guitar(an art that too often is sadly neglected) along with searing lead work that has to be heard to be appreciated! Also noteworthy is Harris' brilliant bass guitar work here. "Questions" moves the listener right along here, opening with some very Zeppelinish acoustic work by Harris in the key of G major that's underpinned by the percussion work of Matt Thompson, who turns in an excellent performance on this track.The east indian influences in the guitar work add to the Zeppelin feel to the beginning of the track, which also returns throughout the composition, alternating with the other varied influences which Harris is obviously not shy about displaying in his playing. I hear a prominent Andy Powell(Wishbone Ash) influence here as well, which pleased me immensely since Powell is one of my favorite guitarists. Harris' guitar tones on this track(I say tones because he changes tones in every verse!) are some of the sweetest I've heard in a long time! That brings up another aspect of Harris' playing that makes him stand out. Many guitarists are content with the same guitar tone song after song, even album after album, But not Harris! The variety of tones that he coaxes out of his guitar are simply amazing! Up next is "Axcalibur", a heavy driving instrumental that features a killer guitar riff that at times recalls Pat Travers, only Travers never sounded this heavy! More great lead guitar work by Harris here! "Mozart's Ghost", as the title implies, is a neo classical workout that features classically influenced guitar work that puts Yngwie to shame! Harris has successfully put forth a heavy neo classical composition that manages not to sound like all the rest. Moving along once again, we encounter the fast paced metal workout "Stun Gun".An aggressive number which moves along at a breakneck pace with Harris firing off arpeggiated leads mixed with wailing guitar that is absolutely stunning! "Blue Tokyo" changes the mood momentarily, a progressive blues track that's reminiscent of the hard edged blues rock of Robin Trower and Frank Marino. Harris wrenches every bit of emotion from every note here, preferring feeling over flash,with nary a wasted note. In lesser hands the blues foundation would inspire overplaying, which Harris has the maturity as a player not to do. Some of the licks played here actually sent chills up my spine! Harris changes directions again with "Winterlude", which is an adaptation of an excerpt from Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons". Turning in an intense performance which retains the spirit of the original composition while at the same time putting a fresh spin on it, Harris absolutely blazes throughout, with just a short acoustic break for respite from his fiery lead work. Harris then treats us to the three part "The Edge Of Forever". Very symphonic in nature, the track features wonderful, precisely controlled volume swells comprising the main melody. Then, with beautiful yet subtle keyboards underneath, Harris lets loose some brilliant, awe inspiring axe work that perfectly combines flash with emotion, always staying extemely melodic throughout. Stopping briefly to add cello to the equation, the track heads towards conclusion, filled with wailing guitars that bring the composition to an emotional end! Then, to bring things full circle, the album concludes with "Chambre Noire" (minor relapse), which reprises the opening track, only this time instead of Harris solo, this is a real trio, which besides Harris on acoustic guitar, includes Erik Martinez on harpsichord and James Martin on acoustic bass, lending great performances that compliment Harris perfectly! A fine and fitting ending to this fantastic album. "Distorted Views" should be the album that places Harris up among the elite players of the guitar world, right alongside Satriani, Vai, Johnson and Malmsteen. This undoubtedly is one of the best guitar albums of 1999. Distorted views my a**!Michael Harris has a perfect view of where he wants to go, and with any luck he'll get there just fine."
Charlie's view
eeegor | NEW YORK | 01/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"for those of you who like guitar-driven music, this CD and any other by michael harris will impress you. there are alot of new rock instrumentalists coming on the scene nowadays and i listen to many. there's only a few who are as good as this man..."