Asphalt Jungle – Electro Ave.

Electro Ave.

I know this kind of music raises the hackles of some guitarists. It’s a rock/electronica mix that sounds a little different. Jeff Beck drew the ire of lots of players doing this stuff. Well, here guitarist Brian Tarquin and producer/programmer Chris Ingram have put together a package that lets guitarists smile and still gets a thumbs-up from electronica fans.

It’s hard to pin-point things here. Tarquin’s guitar is all over the place. You’ll hear loops, you’ll hear samples, and you’ll hear plain-old, through-the-amp guitars (it sounds like it, anyway). His style would fall into the metal-esque category, although there are some definite jazz things going on, too. The very soulful (I know, not a word you’d associate with this kind of music) ballad “Distant Heart” shows some very distinctive playing and nice wah work. “Kato” sounds like the theme from a mysterious spy movie, and “Tinsel Town” is a nice light funky bopper with some great light wah figures floating above the metallic music.

I do like this disc. It seems a little more musical than most electronica to me. The two Jeff Beck discs that delve into this were hard for me to get to. They just weren’t accessible to me; I certainly mean no disrespect to Beck, who I consider one of the best guitarists in the history of rock, but the songs here are, for the most part, interesting. Tarquin and Ingram have done lots of soundtrack music, and it’s easy to see how this kind of thing could slip into that. But here, it’s not a problem. The cuts are all interesting and enjoyable. This one might be a good one for guitarists to listen to to try and get a feel for this kind of music.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Feb. ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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