David "Fuze" Fiuczynski may seem like the name of a musician that has been hiding out in the jazz witness protection program. For those voracious readers of liner notes and all things six string related the name is quickly recognized as having been listed in Guitar Player magazine's "101 Unsung Guitar Heroes." To make a long story short - this is some righteous stuff!
Fiuczynski draws from a myriad of influences with the end result his own personal genre on what some might call "Global Jazz" but Fuze simply calls Planet Microjam. This incredibly cutting edge release has Fiuczynski on a sonic treasure hunt looking for the notes that fell between the cracks. For the technically inclined we find microtones represent all intervals in between the semitones of the traditional 12 note per octave system found in Western music. Simple right? Think of it from the blues perspective as a player will ride the area between the minor 3rd and major 3rd with these notes being commonly referred to as the blue notes. The blue notes are not found on the piano. Now toss in a guitar player that performs with amazing technical precision along with a solid command of processed tones and the end result is a sonic exploratory into a musical no mans land for guitarists that few can successfully navigate much less with the end result demonstrated by the prolific talents of Fuze. For violin and various reed instruments this is nothing new but for guitar this is some heavy stuff.
Opening with "Micro Emperor" which is a riff on Beethoven's 5th piano concerto we find a North African Funk flavor coupled with Fiuczynski's amazing six string pyrotechnics. Far from some sort of musical novelty act, Jack DeJohnette sits in on "Meditacion" thus quieting the skeptics. "Meditacion" is a captivating tune based on a quarter-tone string quartet by Mexican composer Julian Carrrillo. A somewhat whimsical take on Sun Ra's "Sun Song" fits in perfectly with the incredible ambient feel of this release. The original "Horos Fuzivikos" is an intense Middle Eastern jam with the subtle rock nuance thanks to drummer Kenwood Dennard. Fuze's fretless guitar will in fact sound out of tune to those that have never ventured outside the more rigid forms and functionally of improvised music in the West. Why? Again the microtonal effects combined with the additional effects and harmonic characteristic from Arabic, Turkish, Indian and East Asian is not just pushing the envelope - it's going out certified mail. Fuze is also taking the microtonal notes and stacking them into chords.
Acceptance of this revolutionary tuning system will be like "Hope and Change" for some guitarists without the proper understanding of the numbers the end result may mean little. The six string aficionado that eats, breathes and sleeps theory may find this almost addictive. Of course Planet Microjam is used as a noun in this context, Fuze is hoping to see the transition to a verb.
In keeping with Fuze's wish and since I have waxed somewhat theoretical, I hope you enjoyed the microjammed review. Planet Microjam is a guaranteed mind blower for guitar fans and theory geeks alike. Going outside the box is indeed a good thing...
Tracks: Micro Emperor; Mystic Microjam; Meditacion; Sun Song; Horos Fuzivikos; Green Lament; Madoka Blue; En Secreto; Green Lament; Apprehension; Ragaku.
Personnel: David Fiuczynski: fretted and fretless acoustic and electric guitars,1/4 tone guitar; Evan Marien: fretless bass; Evgeny Lebedev: piano and microtonal keyboards; David Riley: violin; Takeru Yamazaki: additional microtonal keyboards.
An example from 02/12 from You Tube