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Flight of the Phoenix

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Album Review

For all its flaws and shortcomings, Flight of the Phoenix leaves you with the impression that Erlend Krauser is a talented guitarist. The greatest problem with this introspective jazz-pop-rock date lies in the production. The only other musician on board is drummer Stephan "Stoppel" Eggert — apart from Eggert, Krauser's only "accompaniment" consists of synthesizers, sequencers, etc., that he programmed himself and overdubbed. The production is often stiff, mechanical and cold, and Krauser's guitar would have been much better off with a real band. But as frustrating as this CD's production is, you can't help but be impressed by Krauser's guitar playing, which is an appealing mixture of Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery and George Benson. As much as the production hurts him, Krauser manages to gets in some meaningful solos on reflective originals like "Wayfaring Stranger," "Samba Boulevard" and "Tears on Leaves" as well as thoughtful interpretations of the Doors' "Riders on the Storm" and the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever." The excessive production is probably due to the fact that Krauser wanted to give the album some new age appeal, but he would be better off ditching the new age elements and sticking to an improvisatory jazz approach. Problematic in some respects but sometimes decent, Flight of the Phoenix indicated that Krauser was worth keeping an eye on.

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