Musicians the world over understand: one of the hardest things to do when playing an instrument is to sound like yourself. More often than not, the musician finds himself mimicking the music he enjoys, sometimes without realizing it.
With his first instrumental progressive rock album, Out to Sea, multi-instrumentalist Fernando Perdomo proves he is more than merely the sum of his influences. I first became aware of this talented man as the uber-talented guitarist for Dave Kerzner. It’s been very interesting — and entertaining — to hear what Perdomo is capable of on his own.
Perdomo’s compositions will certainly remind listeners of classic prog artists like Yes and Genesis. But rather than ape melodies that have already been done, Perdomo adds his own voice to the mix, taking the tunes in less predictable directions.
Standout tracks include “The Architect,” which is dedicated to the late Peter Banks, the original guitarist for Yes; “Out to Sea,” a light and airy (well, sort of) 11/8 jaunt that really brings Perdomo’s guitar skills to light; and “Roses Spread,” in which the guitarist displays a tender touch reminiscent of Steve Vai. And it wouldn’t be a prog album without an epic, which Perdomo delivers with 15 minutes worth of the “Dreaming in Stereo Suite.” Realistically, there are no weak or throwaway cuts on this album.
Perdomo’s tone is best described as “tangy.” It sits well on top of the mix, allowing it to shine. Perdomo is the consummate musician, creating and playing well thought out and well performed compositions. It’s clear he is a virtuoso, but Perdomo doesn’t play too many notes, which guitarists often do, turning quality art into showing off.
This is a quality album, well worthy of the listener’s time. My only complaint was that at 42 minutes, the record almost seemed too short! I was also thankful this was an instrumental album, because I was able to hear every instrument with crystal clarity.
Here’s hoping Fernando Perdomo has plenty more where this came from.