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Zapotec: Alpha Centuri

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I had heard of Zapotec awhile back being described as a Mahavishnu Orchestra/ Dregs kind of thing. Bill Curtis's guitar is definitely in the Mahavishnu vein and I hear some of Stan Samole and bits of Corrado Rustici. Anna Hubbell and Dave Kline on violins give even a Curved Air tinge to things, as on "Transient". A Magma/Univers Zero angst crops up very nicely. There is a pleasantly eerie aura in "Transient" and Curtis lets it all out in great fusion, rapid-fired notes in abundance. They outro in a King Crimsonic manic overdrive.

"American in Japan (Revisited)" is an early Dregsish piece with great violin and keys. Curtis' playing is more Jade Warrior than Dregsian on this cut. The song is a journey right back to nostalgic prog fusion. "Nameless Thing" reminded me of a cross between PFM's Jet Lag and the Dregs again but with a Mahavishnu Orch. mid-song jam.

"Dusk" had a laidback, live jam feel to it. It was a Wishbone Ash moment, (one guitar though). A piano, drums, and occasional bass were backup for Curtis' 2:57 noodling. Violin joins in for the outro. "Tribal" had a raw-edged, live feel as well. Curtis played reverby and with ample delay. I felt like I was sitting about third row back listening to this jam session. Guitar and violin did a lot of conversational solos. This tune was very Flying Island.

"Spirit Hollow" is Curtis doing the acoustic, Kottke/Tibbetts/NeilYoung thang sans percussion. A wonderful channel-to-channel violin wafts in for the outro. The 19:19 remainder of the disc is essentially two extended, space rockish/ jazz rock fusion jams. One 6:03 jam has a noticeable degree of master tape hiss with an abrupt ending. Recommended fusion.

Zapotec: Alpha Centuri (CD, 59:50); Psycho-Audible PA-0001


Reprinted with the permission of John Collinge and Progression Magazine .


Title: Alpha Centuri | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Psycho-Audible

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