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Sunset

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Album Review

The first solo album by producer and multi-instrumentalist Camiel is right on the edge of being terminally precious. The largely instrumental tunes were created with the basic building blocks of the most soulless smooth jazz records of the '70s and '80s: twinkling electric piano, electric guitars sent through chorus and/or wah-wah pedals, acoustic guitars fingerpicked Spanish-style, Barry White-style orchestral sweeps, polite Latin percussion that's there mostly for color instead of rhythm. There are even three songs (one of them in Spanish) that feature a Ken Nordine-like voice-over narrating a story about an anonymous bar pickup. In different hands, Sunset probably would have been terrible. What saves the album is Camiel's knack for arrangement, which sets the verging-on-naff elements of the record against subtle electronics and hypnotic rhythm patterns that make the album sound witty and tongue-in-cheek instead of kitschy. More melodic than the average club/dance record and a little too upbeat to serve as downtempo mood music, Sunset doesn't fit neatly into any trends, but it's an oddly charming record.

Sunset, Camiel
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