Ah, yes, this is good. For those of us having immersed ourselves ritually in a certain guitar mastery, seeking the legendary muse of Allan Holdsworth hearing Elliot Freedman play is a singular pleasure. The short-sighted?, secretly envious?, and knee-jerk smug? may cast aspersions his way such as clone, copycat, or an uninteresting echo lacking creativity. What silences them is Freedman's music which yes, emulates Holdsworthian majesty, but is uniquely The Elliot Freedman Group's own answer to that same muse Holdsworth hears. Music is the language of the soul and I will not fault Freedman's speaking his voice in a way that mirrors his heart. Still need evidence of Freedman's unique stylings? Listen to "The Silent Path" or the Outer Limits voicings on "Taming Restless Arcs". Enuff of all that.
Much of this release is a quicksilver sea of atmospheric chordal breathings, passages of note groupings delineating the diffuse sunrise dancing on the ebony dark waves of aspiration. Got that? Freedman may burst forth in a liquid legato when the moment calls for it but it is never excess baggage nor free-jazzy, "out there" riffing for riffs sake. It is a punctuation mark, an underlining of a phrase so to speak. The bass work by Marc Rogers is wonderfully, Willis precise and fits everywhere just right. Paul Mason's drums are multicolored, faultless, stop-on-a-dime tight, and place him firmly in the Husband/ Wackerman echelons. Freedman lays out ultra-complex, chordal passages and mazes of progressions that he and his bandmates must weave through. They do so effortlessly and with notable flair on the in-betwixt steps and swift lane changes. Rogers solos confidently and Freedman replies in conversational style.
There are no Synthaxe manipulations nor synth atmospherics, only upbeat, tight yet free, flowing, pulsing, crystal clear perfections of the muse here. Those out there holding Holdsworth in reverence will without question be delighted with The Elliot Freedman Group's fourteen little gifts on this release. Strongly recommended.