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Conrad Schrenk Extravaganza: Save the Robots

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

I am always impressed when fusion fans contact me, avidly expounding the virtues of some band or artist I have never heard of, (no folks, I am not omniscient), and I of course say, “Send it on. I’ll have a listen.” And so from Austria, a CD-R arrives, Xeroxed CD liner and all. Conrad Schrenk himself gave permission, hoping enough interest is generated, (following this review), that he may seek to get Save the Robots * re-released. “Conrad, take it from me, SEEK RE-RELEASE.”

On with the review . . .

Think of Matalex with an awesome brass section — but more intense guitars. Think Miles Davis or brass-man Brecker teamed up with a hard-chargin’, rockin’, jammin’, heavy fusion, keen-edged fusion axeman. Think Tower of Power meets Mike Stern with an attitude. That was just track one, “666"!

Then let your mind drift back to Larry Coryell’s 11th House debut release but cranked yet spiced with ethereally lilting jazz dreamworlds too. That was “The Robot”. A few tracks later, “777" perfectly blends high-energy jazz with super-crunch power chords as if Steve Vai was guesting or Eddie Van Halen just breezed by. Schrenk’s Vai-esque, Zappa-manic riffs dance well-balanced twixt metal and fusion. This is NOT fusion to cut diamonds by nor adjust nuclear cooling rods to! On “Wet Fred” we are treated to raga fusion, Shakti-ville, acoustic splendor that flows into sweet sax, a poignant bass solo, and a well-done percussive landscape of novel genius. Unique!

Save the Robots carries on its excellent flow with many a wondrous world of eclectic fusion joy. Expect peaceful interludes, contemplative segues and mind-drifts, and of course more powerfully complex fusion guitar outbursts to clearly show Schrenk smokes the frets. He is a wildman, unhinged, unpredictable, and brainy composer. This is a keeper!

Fusion buzz keywords: Miles, Stern, Vai, Zappa, Brecker, 11th House, complex, cool Highly recommended, (if you can find it), so ask around.

Personnel: Conrad Schrenk - guitar, Franz Hackl - trumpet, flugelhorn, Thomas Kugi - sax, Stefan Mitterbacher - keys, Werner Feldgrill - bass, Thomas Lang - drums

*[out-of-print CD, artist/fusion fans seeking re-release] For more info, contact: jwpttrsn@duke.edu

Record Label: PAO Records/ SBF Records

Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


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